Gin Traps & the Lethal Control of Predators
Lethal control has been used for centuries. Today alleged livestock losses to predators, especially jackal and caracal, is worse now than ever before. In other places predators have become extinct and the natural biodiversity of smaller mammal species decimated by lethal controls. Hunting operations profiteer off the extermination of predators and a vicious cycle continueas.
The foundation supports the rights of agricultural practitioners to ensure the economic viability of their businesses. However these are not absolute rights and should be exercised in a balanced ethical, ecological and economic manner. Landmark Foundation views the use of indiscriminate lethal methods of predator control as ecologically damaging and ethically unacceptable. All forms of gin traps, soft traps and leg hold de-vices, killer traps, poisons and hunting dogs are tortuous methods.
We campaign a national advocacy drive to outlaw the above methods from agricultural or game farm production and to positively affect legislative changes to allow for the protection of predators and unintended by-catch.
In specific cases the need to remove an individual problem animal is recognized if and when all other methods of preventative management have been applied and the animal can be correctly identified. Humane and ecologically acceptable methods are the only methods to be used in such cases.
What is needed is a landmark change of thinking to shift the focus away from the control of predators to the protection of livestock, and an appreciation for and partnership with natural eco-system processes and patterns. In this way, we can harness the eco-system’s inherent potential to provide sustainability and economic wealth.
What are the medical and ethical consequences of spring loaded devices (inclusive of Gin Traps)?
Gin traps invariably cause injuries to trapped victims. These injuries may include at the very least, abrasions and or bruising of the trapped limb. However gin-trap traumas are frequently associated with ligament and tendon damage, serious skin breaches, bone breakages and limb amputations. The severity of the injuries caused by gin-traps will largely depend on the trap design, the spring strength needed to close the jaws of the trap, and the size and species of the victim.
Gin-trap injuries can be associated with:
- Abrasions and lacerations
- Ligament, tendon and muscle injuries
- Fractures occur as a result of three mechanisms
- Tooth fractures
- Vascular occlusion injuries
- Release injuries and amputations
- Dehydration and death
Gin-traps are used extensively on livestock farms throughout South Africa without any professional supervision. In addition to these traps catching thousands of non target animals as described above, these traps often remain unchecked for long periods. This results in a lingering death from dehydration and starvation, such as the Cape fox (photo above left) and the leopard (photo above right).
Age analysis of jackals killed on farms has vividly illustrated that many jackals survive in the midst of the thousands of gin-traps placed out on farmland every year, to ages in excess of 10 years. This is testimony to the futility of this trapping method for the black backed jackal and a disturbing reminder of the unnecessary annual maiming of thousands of innocent animals in this manner.
“Perhaps the point of living is not to be placid & happy and un-touched by the world, but to be deeply, painfully sensitive to it, to see its cruelty & savagery for what they are, and accept all this as readily as we accept its beauty. To be touched by it, hurt by it even, but not be indifferent to it.”
John Simpson, CBE, Writer, Broadcaster
The first serval seen in Baviaanskloof for years – it was found in gin trap and was euthenased 4 days later as the foot could not be rescued.