Fur-trapping ban gets new day in court

Backers of the voter-approved amendment say it was undermined when the state OK’d use of nonlethal traps.

Wildlife conservationists and the state renewed a decade-old feud Monday over a constitutional amendment banning fur trapping, debating whether animals could be caught in nonlethal traps and then killed.

In a downtown Denver courtroom far from the state’s wilds, District Judge Larry Naves heard arguments about the intent of Amendment 14, which curbed lethal trapping in the state when it was approved by voters in 1996.

“This is a watershed moment for Amendment 14,” said Susan Morath Horner, the attorney for conservation groups Sinapu and Forest Guardians. “At issue in this case … is whether it did or did not sound the death knell to the trapping of Colorado’s wildlife for pelts and trophies.”

She contended that the state wildlife commission undermined the amendment’s intention when it approved the use of box traps – self-closing cages baited with food used to to capture and then kill fur-bearing animals such as mink, coyote and fox.

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