Six Reasons to Control Foothold Traps in Taiwan

       Six Reasons to Control Foothold Traps in Taiwan

AVOT Report
By Jyun Han Lin  
March 25, 2014

Imagine walking by a lake or in the mountains. You notice people on the road who lack either an arm or a leg. Children with one leg swathed in bandages lean heavily on their canes, limping along with their good leg.

Taiwan, with its three million foothold traps that seem just like landmines, is no Formosa at all. LCA appeals to every individual to engage in thorough "minesweeping" activities to make foothold traps disappear from Taiwan for forever!

1. Foothold traps are used to catch and torture animals whose only way to escape is to cut off their limbs. Because these traps can blindly catch any animal, including children who are obviously not the original targets, and can be easily set anywhere, they are more dangerous than other common knives. As we have observed, there is no limitation on the sale and placement of foothold traps in Taiwan, which poses a huge threat to all lives.

2. Some cases in China, Hong Kong, and even Austria, reveal that people have received serious injuries from foothold traps. In Taiwan, we can find foothold traps in elementary schools, beaches, scenic parks, mountain trails or even near crowded places, such as Taipei City Hall and urban parks. If children mistake foothold traps for anything else, or accidentally step on them, they could become deformed or even worse, die. In order to weave social safety nets, controlling foothold traps is an integral and urgent part.

3. Under Article 13 of National Park Law, it is forbidden to hunt animals at national parks. However, such powerful killing traps appeared in those areas, even in ecological conservation areas. According to a news report, the larger amount of foothold traps was discovered in Taroko National Park (太魯閣國家公園) during the winter hunting season. Victims of the hunting season include animals from sky to animals on land and young or adult animals; unfortunately, none of them could be saved.

According to research, as many as half of the Taiwanese black bear population has lost their toes and paws, becoming "deformed bears" like many stray animals also  that they had escaped from foothold traps by cutting their limbs. Not only could wild animals get injured, but mountain climbers who accidentally stumble upon these hidden traps could also get severely injured; for, these traps can easily cut off even a large animal’s legs. It is really ironic to see such destructive traps in Yangmingshan National Park(陽明山國家公園) and Kenting National Park(墾丁國家公園) which are critical conservation parks.

4. An uncountable number of stray animals and wildlife lost their limbs because of widespread foothold traps in Taiwan. Such abusive tools, which have already been forbidden in some civilized countries, are readily accessible from hardware stores at fairly cheap prices. Moreover, the margins of selling the tools were thin, so there was not much loss in the business when the tools were sold under certain guidelines.

5. Under Article 19 of Wildlife Conservation Act, it is forbidden to catch wild animals with pitfalls, foothold traps, or other special hunting tools. However, Article 14 of the Act is controversial because it declares that unless the authorities grant you a permit, then foothold traps are not used to catch wild animals. The argument of the Article is untenable because we cannot easily verify who set the foothold traps, and authorities can only passively remove these traps. There is not enough manpower to find evidence against those who set the traps. Also, there is no law regarding the selling of foothold traps but, sadly, these traps can be purchased without any identification in hardware stores.                                                  

6. Because the manpower responsible for animal protection was very limited in Taiwan, it tended to take actions with the help of the police. For example, six animal protection investigators of Taipei City, the highest number there, needed to look into the sale of foothold traps in seven thousand hardware stores, which could hardly be accomplished without the help of the police. So, in order to intensify the effectiveness of the investigation, animal protection investigators needed the police's efforts to scrutinize and control the manufacture of foothold traps. As far as the National Police Agency(警政署) was concerned, controlling the traps did not require any extra budget on tools and manpower. As a result, the cost was less than the one for drug control.

Thank Angelina, a NCCU volunteer, for proofreading the report  :D

For a better experience using this site, please upgrade to a modern web browser.