Story: Animal welfare and rights

Gin trap injury

Gin trap injury

Starsky the cat, seen here with owner Kerry Kennedy in 1979, lost a leg to a gin trap, shown in the foreground. For decades New Zealand SPCAs campaigned against the traps, routinely used to catch possums, ferrets, stoats and feral cats. The reality of the suffering that the metal-jawed leghold traps caused was brought home to the public when occasionally a loved pet accidentally encountered one. Some of these animals did not survive the injury, and those that did almost always had to have the limb amputated. Gradually it became more widely accepted that the traps were inhumane, regardless of the type of animal caught. In 2007 an order restricted the use of leghold traps in New Zealand, and by 2011 only padded traps could be used.

Using this item

Alexander Turnbull Library, Dominion Post Collection (PAColl-7327)
Reference: EP/1979/1988a

Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa, must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

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How to cite this page:

Nancy Swarbrick, 'Animal welfare and rights - Anti-cruelty organisations', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 6 July 2022)

Story by Nancy Swarbrick, published 5 May 2011, reviewed & revised 1 Jul 2017