TrapFree Oregon: The Drive Begins!

On Tuesday, I stood in the windy entryway of the Ashland Community Food Co-op to gather signatures for TrapFree Oregon’s ballot initiative. I was happy to have Wally Sykes by my side, his enthusiasm for ending fur trapping in our state is contagious. Wally started TrapFree Oregon (TFO) after his beloved dog Kumo was caught in a leg hold trap five years ago. Until recently, Wally was a one-man show, running a website and spreading information about the travesties of trapping. A group in Bend has joined in and now there are several others sharing the load as well.

Wally and Kumo

We were collecting the first batch of required signatures to make the ballet initiative a reality in November of 2014. This initiative would make it illegal to trap any animal for commerce in raw fur or body parts, or for recreation. Also, the use of Compound 1080 to poison animals would be illegal. The Conibear trap would be banned. There are exemptions for the trapping of animals for scientific purposes and of course, one can still set mouse traps. Trapping would be permitted in other circumstances as well, such as for the protection of endangered species and to protect human welfare. Hunting and fishing would not be affected at all.

Wally displayed not a hint of shyness as he approached people passing our table. “Hello!” he said. “Would you like to help us end fur trapping in Oregon?” “End what?” many responded, surprised that fur trapping still exists, their idealistic Ashland minds assuming trapping had gone the way of the musket. I know, I thought the same thing until recently.

Over two hours we collected eighty signatures and a couple dozen email addresses. A handful offered to volunteer for TFO. Would you be willing to help? This is definitely a grass-roots project and all hands are needed. Donations are welcome as well.

I learned a ton from Wally. For example, there are now 847 registered trappers in Oregon and the average income they derive from trapping is only $1,200 a year. A few make more but most trap only for recreation, therefore TFO’s initiative will not be putting people out of a job. Over 25,000 animals, including bobcat, otter, fox, skunk, and coyote were trapped last trapping season in Oregon. These doesn’t count the ones not reported–the dogs and cats and other unintentional victims such as raptors.

The drive to end trapping is an easy sell in liberal Ashland. Wally and I make plans to set up our table here again in mid-December.

Other news in the anti-trapping movement comes from Footloose Montana.This organization came close to qualifying for a ball0t initiative in 2009-10. They received nearly 31,000 signatures supporting trap-free public lands and were an agonizing 1,500 short of meeting the requirement for the initiative. Let’s help them make this a reality in the future. Their Facebook and website now have a DONATION button. Click it and send what you can. 

19 thoughts on “TrapFree Oregon: The Drive Begins!

  1. I am CDN living in Oregon. I have a wild husky I rescued…..he is the ambassador for my animal rights/wolf/husky lovers facebook page.

    I also was the Oregon Organizer for the Commemorative walk to honour the Whistler dogs.

    Please friend me at my site and I am happy to help with signatures in and around Oregon City, south of Portland.

    Keep up the wonderful work!

    Teresa M Ouchterlony -Cooper


  2. Keep up, the good work, Beckie! I’m so impressed by all you are doing and your knowledge and passion. I’ll know you’ll get it done!


  3. Beckie. Thanks for shedding light on the subject of trapping in your beautiful state. I have crossed path with Wally and his admirable mission via social media. It was nice to put a face to this gentleman. I have always admired the energy and knowledge he brings to the table. All the best from Montana….Marc


  4. Thank you for all your help and support for Footloose Montana, too! There are many more of us in this country that value wildlife and want to see an end to trapping and the indiscriminate cruelty it inflicts on hundreds of thousands of animals annually for fun and fur.1% of the population should not hold our public lands hostage. Together, we will achieve trap free public lands for people, pets and wildlife!


  5. Thanks for your comments, KC and Angela. I believe that with a concerted effort, trapping will eventually be banned. But it’s going to take a ton of work.
    Wally pointed out to me that the connibear trap will not be banned totally, but relegated to water use to trap “problem” animals such as beaver. Sorry for the mistake, wish I were right the first time!


  6. Thanks for this hopeful info, Beckie. Hopefully the idea will catch on nationally – eventually. Trapping, snaring, hounding….all brutal and need to be banned. Trappers need to find a different hobby.


  7. Glad to see this is happening! I was an organizer, when I lived in CA, for Prop. 4, which banned trapping there in 1998. Teresa- I’m near you, in Jennings Lodge, between OC and Milwaukie.

    Off to the website to sign up!


  8. I am a bit concerned here; when I filled out my volunteer form, it took me to a “not found” page.

    “Not Found
    The requested URL /Pages/VolunteerFormThanks.html was not found on this server.”

    When I emailed the address on the “Contact Us” page, it bounced….

    “Delivery to the following recipient failed permanently:


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