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California becomes the first state to ban fur trapping

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) signed a measure Wednesday making the state the first to ban fur trapping, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The Wildlife Protection Act bars commercial or recreational trapping on both private and public land, according to the Times.

{mosads}The commercial trapping industry shaped the early economy of California and the American West in general but has played an increasingly smaller role over the decades.

“It seems especially cruel, obviously, and it’s just unnecessary and costly,” said Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D), who introduced the bill. She added that the roughly 70 trappers who continue to work in the state, compared to thousands a century ago, cannot afford the cost of regulating the industry, according to the Times.

California Department of Fish and Wildlife data indicates 68 trappers killed 1,568 animals throughout the state in 2017, including coyotes, badgers, minks, gray foxes and beavers. To avoid damaging the furs, these animals were strangled, shot or beaten to death.

Despite the decline in trapping in the state, outrage at the practice has been widespread since 2013, when conservationist Tom O’Key came upon a bobcat trap illegally set on his land, according to the Times.

“I could not have guessed in a million years that trap would spark an unstoppable movement capable of shifting legislative thinking toward wildlife,” O’Key told the newspaper. The incident also led to the Bobcat Protection Act of 2013 and a 3-2 vote by the California Fish and Game Commission to ban commercial bobcat trapping.

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