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CELEBRITIES JOIN IN DRIVE TO BAN TRAPS; GROUP SEEKS SPOT ON BALLOT.

Byline: Amy Collins Daily News Staff Writer

At the kickoff of a statewide drive to ban steel-jawed traps and some poisons in California, celebrities including Shari Belafonte and Kevin Nealon drew their share of attention Tuesday.

But it was Trapper, a Calabasas dog, who presented their best argument in favor of the proposed ballot initiative.

Trapper chewed off his leg a year ago to escape one of the traps left in the desert near Lancaster.

``There is no compelling reason why these animals should suffer in this cruel manner,'' said ``Babe'' and ``L.A. Confidential'' star James Cromwell during the news conference in Studio City.

California would be the seventh state to ban steel-jawed traps if the initiative qualifies for a spot on the November ballot and is approved by voters.

The traps have been banned in the city of Los Angeles since 1992, but they still are used, said Dennis Kroeplin, the city's wildlife officer. Two weeks ago, a cat's paw was trapped in one in Sylmar, he said.

``I've confiscated dozens and dozens and dozens of illegal traps,'' Kroeplin said.

The initiative would prohibit steel-jawed traps throughout the state and the sale of fur from animals caught in those traps. It would also ban the poisons sodium fluoroacetate and sodium cyanide for use on animals.

Seven humane organizations, including the Encino-based The Ark Trust, hope to collect 434,000 more signatures needed to qualify the proposition.

On the other side, trappers' groups are expected to mount strong opposition.

``It's not based on science. It's based on emotion,'' Steve Green, spokesman for the National Trappers Association, said in an interview Tuesday. ``All they're trying to do is kill the fur trade.''

Trapping creates 226,000 jobs nationally and has a total ripple effect on the economy of $4.46 billion, Green said.

Officials use them to protect dams and levees as well as water supplies, said Terry Mansfield, the chief of Wildlife Management Division of the California Department of Fish and Game.

The department has taken no stance on the initiative. Mansfield said officers still would be allowed to use the traps under certain circumstances, but the initiative's language is vague on that point.

``It would limit the effectiveness of some management programs,'' he said. Box traps are less useful and totally ineffective for adult coyotes, he said.

The initiative is sponsored by Protect Pets and Wildlife, or ProPAW. It has been endorsed by the Los Angeles city animal commission as well as the actors present Tuesday, including Ed Begley Jr. and Tippi Hedren.

And then there was Trapper, who attorney Bob Ferber adopted after he was brought into the Lancaster shelter by some dirt bikers.

``His leg was apparently caught in a trap and he chewed his leg free,'' Ferber said.

CAPTION(S):

2 Photos

PHOTO (1) The group Protect Pets and Wildlife has launched an initiative they hope to get on the ballot to ban the use of some traps and poisons in California.

(2) Tippi Hedren, James Cromwell, Ed Begley Jr. and Shari Belafonte attended Tuesday's event.

Terri Thuente/Daily News
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No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1997, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Dec 3, 1997
Words:515
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