Few animal welfare issues are as emotive as trapping. For some people it is a barbaric relic of an unenlightened past that inflicts needless cruelty on wild animals.

For others especially in places such as the Canadian and American countryside it is a way of life passed down through generations as well as a welcome, seasonal supplement to rural incomes.

Photographer Jessica Rinaldi and I went out recently with an east Texas trapper to take a first-hand look at the industry. You can see our story, pegged to the U.S. recession and global economic downturn, here.

Traps come in different forms and sizes. Many are designed to kill instantly; others to restrain an animal until the trapper comes by to dispatch them with a bullet or a smack over the head with a blunt object.

Critics would be quick to point out that things don’t always go according to plan; some animals drown by mistake while some have been known to chew off a paw in a bid to escape from a snare or restraint. And simply restraining a wild animal is regarded by some activists as beyond the pale.