England’s action to ban glue traps is a stirring victory for animal protection

England’s action to ban glue traps is a stirring victory for animal protection



With the recent passage of a bill that gained unanimous support in the House of Lords, England has joined a handful of countries and a host of companies and institutions around the world that have banned glue traps.

For mice and rats, the traps’ primary targets, who are so often excluded from society’s moral reckoning or consideration, it means relief from terrible and unnecessary suffering. That suffering is widespread, and it results from the everyday decisions of homeowners, businesses and institutions to purchase and use a crude and callous means of killing.

The glue trap is a sheet of plastic, cardboard or wood coated with adhesive; it traps mice and rats as they cross it. It’s nefarious in design, and the animals’ deaths are neither swift nor painless. They can’t get free of the extremely sticky glues, and they are left immobile to struggle and die, sometimes for days, as users “set them and forget them.” The animals’ agonizing deaths are a result of stress, exhaustion, self-mutilation, starvation and eventual dehydration or suffocation.

These animals deserve better. Both mice and rats are social animals who enjoy the company of others—rats even “laugh” when playing and care for sick members of their group. Contrary to some descriptions, mice and rats are meticulously clean and groom themselves for several hours each day. Mice are very talkative and communicate through ultrasonic sound.

To see an entire country move to end more than a century’s worth of great cruelty to these small creatures—millions upon millions of them—is deeply stirring. Humane Society International first took aim at glue traps in the U.K. in 2015 with the “Unstuck” campaign to spotlight the suffering they cause and discourage their use. We appealed to consumers, retailers, suppliers and institutions of various kinds and laid the groundwork for the legislation.

Lead Image: Both mice and rats (the prime targets of glue traps) are social animals who enjoy the company of others—rats even “laugh” when playing and care for sick members of their group. Colin Varndell/Alamy.

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