Animal torture devices belong in the past. It’s high time for governments across the world to scrap the manufacture of leg gripping traps that result in millions of animals being critically injured or killed each year.

What purpose do these traps serve when government officials around the world are frequently publicly communicating their intention to conserve wildlife and mitigate the extinction of many animal species.

In an article published on The Day website, Frans Silverman, communications director for Friends of Animals, couldn’t have phrased it better when he said that these traps were reminiscent of medieval-torture tools.

“Targeted and non-targeted animals get their limbs caught… which they struggle to escape from by tugging or chewing off a leg or paw,” he said.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) describes it as the “Jaws of Death” and says every year, trappers kill millions of raccoons, coyotes, wolves, bobcats, possums, beavers, otters and other animals for their fur. The steel jaw device is the most common tool used and when an animal steps on it, the device snaps shut and there’s little to no chance of escape.

“As they struggle in pain to get free, the steel vice cuts into their flesh – often down to the bone – mutilating the leg or paw,” Peta said on its website.

“Trapped animals struggle for hours or even days before the trapper returns to kill them – if they haven’t succumbed to exhaustion, exposure, blood loss, shock or predation first… Mothers desperate to return to their young will even chew or twist off their trapped limbs.”

When they fail to escape their babies are left alone and unable to fend for themselves.

These persecution gadgets not only pose a danger to wildlife but also cats, dogs and humans.

In the United States, the capture of non-targeted animals, like birds, can range up to 60% of total catches, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association.

David Barritt, Network for Animals (NFA) chief campaigner said that a step in the right direction would be for other countries to follow in South Africa’s footsteps by prohibiting the use of animal capture devices. Its law states that the use of any trap or device for capturing or destroying any wild or domestic animal is prohibited, unless it is necessary for the protection of life or property (an example the authorities use in South Africa would be if a crocodile enters your home and attacks you) or disease prevention. South Africa has also banned the use of snares and traps for hunting.

Some countries have outlawed the use of leg-hold traps including Belgium, Greece, Chad, Benin, Bolivia, Chile and Guatemala. However, in parts of the US and other countries, these devices are still legal.