(TRENTON) – Assembly Regulatory Oversight Committee Chair Reed Gusciora on Thursday vowed to fight the Christie administration’s attempt to resurrect a cruel and inhumane hunting practice that the Legislature outlawed over 30 years ago.
Gusciora expressed his outrage over the new rule approved by the State Fish and Game Council which would once again allow the use of “enclosed foothold traps,” a proposal that will go into effect in November unless the courts intervene and approve an appeal for a stay of the rule filed by a coalition of conservation, environmental and animal welfare groups.
“This is yet another appalling bid by the Christie administration to circumvent existing state law,” said Gusciora (D-Mercer/Hunterdon). “It’s barbaric, plain and simple. The Legislature made that clear in 1984 when it passed a law prohibiting the use of steel-jaw, leg-hold animal traps in order to improve animal welfare and prevent absolute cruelty.”
Gusciora noted that fur traders have been lobbying for use of the enclosed foothold traps, which, like other animal traps of the steel-jaw, leg-hold type, trap the limb of an animal with a clamping force that inflicts trauma, restricts blood flow, and results in significant injury to the animal in a cruel and inhumane way.
Additionally, the traps pose a threat to unsuspecting people and their pets, as well as many other species, such as mink, river otter, and domestic cats, which are equally as dexterous as target species such as raccoon and opossum, and therefore can also be wrongly captured by these traps.
“This is more about presidential politics than it is about New Jersey’s fishing and gaming policies. We’re not going to take a step backwards as a state so the governor can pander to right wing conservatives in battleground primary states. This is New Jersey and we’re better than that,” added Gusciora. “If the court doesn’t do the right thing, I stand ready to take action as the chair of the Assembly Regulatory Oversight Committee to make sure this practice doesn’t make an unwelcome comeback.”