(CN) - The U.S. House of Representatives proposed legislation that would ban the use of animal traps in national wildlife refuges. Democratic Congresswoman Nita Lowey of New York introduced the bill, calling the continued use of the traps in federally protected wildlife areas "inexcusable" and "shameful."
More than half of the country's 550 federal refuges allow steel jaw leg-hold traps, Conibear traps and snares, which will be made illegal under the proposed legislation.
Among the traps that fall under the proposed ban are Conibear traps, which are designed to collapse on an animal's spinal column but can catch the chest or pelvis, prolonging the animal's death.
If approved, the law would be called the Refuge From Cruel Trapping Act, which Animal Welfare Institute President Cathy Liss called a "critical step toward reducing the suffering inflicted on our nation's wildlife."
The bill has 35 co-sponsors and is set for review with the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources.
Bans or restrictions on animal traps on public lands are already in place in eight states, according to the Animal Welfare Institute.