Bill would repeal leghold traps in Mass.

March 12, 2011

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BOSTON—The state's 15-year-old prohibition on using leghold traps to capture beavers and other animals is being reconsidered on Beacon Hill.

The Legislature's Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture has scheduled a hearing for Monday on several bills dealing with trapping, including one that would repeal the ban on leghold and other body-gripping traps.

Supporters of the bill say the beaver population in Massachusetts has exploded since voters approved the ban in 1996. They say beaver dams are causing flooding and other environmental problems.

Animal rights groups say the steel-jaw leghold traps are cruel and cause unnecessary suffering for animals.

Box or net traps that ensnare the entire animal can still be used, and cities and towns can issue permits for body-gripping traps under certain emergency circumstances.