The RSPCA has released pictures of a robin accidentally caught in a glue trap designed to catch rodents to highlight the danger they pose to wildlife at large – amid hopes the traps could soon be banned.
The animal welfare charity and the wildlife presenter Chris Packham are calling for a ban arguing that they cause “immeasurable suffering” to rats and mice – and to the wide range of other animals from cats and hedgehogs to parrots that they inadvertently catch.
“Glue traps are just immoral – we shouldn’t treat life like that,” Mr Packham told i.
He is opposed to using them on rats and mice on animal welfare grounds and concerned by the extent to which they indiscriminately catch pets and other species of wildlife.
“The animals become stuck and die of dehydration and starvation and whilst they’re dying they’re exposed to other animals which come and eat them,” he said.
“And you also have the non-specific nature of them. We’ve seen bats stuck to them, invertebrates of all kinds and other species of mammal.”
Adam Grogan, the RSPCA’s head of wild animal science and policy, said: “We’re opposed to the manufacture, sale and use of all glue traps because they cause unacceptable suffering and are totally indiscriminate in what they catch, ensnaring wild animals like birds and even pets.
“Glue traps may seem like an effective way to catch rodents without killing them, but they come with very serious welfare issues and subject those animals unfortunate enough to get caught to horrific suffering. Even the way they’re designed to catch animals – by sticking their limbs to the board as they cross it – inflicts pain and distress.”
The robin in these photographs was found near Buckfastleigh in Devon last Sunday by the RSPCA. Staff tried to remove the glue from the bird’s feathers, legs, and beak but were unable to save it.
The charity’s cruelty line received 236 reports of glue-trap incidents from 2016 to 2020, involving animals including cats, garden birds, hedgehogs, squirrels and even a parrot.
A Private Members’ Bill – the Glue Traps (Offences) Bill – is currently progressing through Parliament, and aims to make most uses of glue traps an offence in England – with the exemptions due to be debated in Parliament next week.
Introducing the Bill, Jane Stevenson, MP for Wolverhampton North East, said: “When pest control is needed we have a responsibility to use the most humane methods in order to prevent unnecessary suffering. A rodent stuck in a glue trap will suffer a slow and painful death, which isn’t acceptable when other pest control methods are available.”
The Government has backed the bill, with animal welfare minister Lord Goldsmith said last year: “We will do all we can to help her get this new law onto the statute books.”
Meanwhile, Scotland’s environment minister Màiri McAllan pledged to end glue traps, while Wales is also considering a ban this year.
This article by Tom Bawden was first published by iNews on 26 January 2022. Lead Image: RSPCA workers tried to save a robin caught in a glue trap in Buckfastleigh, Devon (RSPCA).
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