In our view, there are no problem animals, only problem people.
LEG HOLD / GIN TRAPS
Gin traps are legally allowed in South Africa in the use of predator control. The agricultural sector promotes it and continues to fight to retain the use of leghold traps. Certain government conservation agencies and conservation NGOs are promoting the use so-called "soft" traps, where animals continue to break bones, have blood supply cut off (with ensuing gangrene and death; the traps still tear ligaments and tissues and the animals still chew off their limbs and break their teeth trying to free themselves from these devices. The trap has rubber edges without teeth and a tiny gap - a trap that will still cause immense pain and suffering! Try slamming your card door shut on your hand and leaving it there for a minute or so and you may have some marginal inkling of what a terrified trapped animal may undergo for many hours before death.
Gin-traps, snares, poison such as the dreaded 1080, or the use of barbed wire in burrows are all commonplace. The barbed wire involves a length fed into the hole which is twisted until the barbs catch in the coat of the trapped animal. Twisting continues until the animal's coat has been rolled around the barbs. Once impaled in this manner, the animal, target animal or not, is hauled out of the burrow to waiting dogs wio will tear them to pieces. Behind the euphemism of 'problem animal control' lies immense and barbaric cruelty.
Beauty Without Cruelty’s position which favours outlawing the use of gin traps for the benefit of all animals who fall prey to these terrible devices. To this end we recognize the need for non-lethal deterrents for farmers, all of which have been successful elsewhere.
Despite decades in intense persecution, farmers have failed to eliminate jackal and caracal, demonstrating the futility of attempting to eradicate them from farmland.
The advantage of cage traps over other traps is that captured animals are not injured and non-target animals can be released unharmed, provided trapped predators are relocated and if cage traps are not checked at least every day, then there is a high risk that trapped animals will die of dehydration, and in such circumstances there is little difference in terms of animal cruelty between cage traps and gin traps.
Guard dogs have been heavily promoted as an effective non-lethal solution for predator control. and can reportedly reduce losses to predators by as much as 80%.Guard dogs have been very successful and are a viable option, but only if the required training is undertaken. Donkeys and Alpacas are also used as guard animals as they are more alert than livestock and are aggressive towards predators.
A return to human guarding of livestock has many advantages. Shepherds walking with livestock can deter predators that attack the herd and report on problems such as plant poisonings and illnesses, thereby pre-empting a number of causes of livestock mortality. Shepherding has had a revival in Europe and would have a better image if shepherds were trained as specialists and worked in shifts to allow adequate family and social contact.
When people learn about the suffering of animals caught up in the modern farming system, or about animals used in research, they only see the immediate problem; animals kept in cramped, unnatural conditions while undergoing painful experiments, or factory farmed animals whose lives from birth to death involve appalling mutilations, stressful living conditions and painful deaths. But, on the outside looking in are the animals farmers blame for their “stock” losses - baboons, leopards, jackal, lynx and many non-target animals, whose fate is every bit as pain filled and stressful as the animals for whom they die. Baboons and monkeys used in research are caught in traps, set on farms where they are considered problem animals and vermin. Many of them are shot, but the unlucky ones may be used in scientific research studies, which can last for weeks or months – even years.
Farmers lose millions of rands every year as a result of stock predation and instead of installing more effective non-lethal measures to protect their animals, cruel gin traps are set to catch predators resulting in the death and maiming of not only those targeted, but countless non-target animals who get caught instead. Many an animal has chewed its paw off in a desperate attempt to escape from these traps and the pain and suffering caused is unimaginable and totally unacceptable when humane methods of protection are readily available!
Poisons too are used to kill predator animals and one of the worst, 1080, is still available in South Africa. The poison was originally developed by the Nazis and its effects on humans, and animals, is frightening. Not only is the poison deadly to predator animals, but also to unsuspecting scavengers, insects and non-target animals, who either eat the bait directly or feed on the bodies of already dead animals. It’s not uncommon to see the bodies of dead jackal hanging from farm fences, although the reason for doing this is unclear!
Those who have taken part in studies to assess the effectiveness of e.g. the use of Anatolian guard dogs have reported a significant reduction in losses. Other methods of defence are the use of donkeys, llama, electric fencing, collars, the installation of noise and light devices and the reintroduction of the old fashioned herder. The use of one or more of these non-lethal protective measures can be more effective than the use of cruel traps, poisoning or hunting.
Hardly any facet of our lives is not either directly or indirectly tainted by cruelty to animals and when we learn the truth about the part we play in their suffering, we need to decide whether we want to be part of the problem, or part of the solution!