The UK is host to some of the most beautiful wildlife. We have 574 species of birds on the British Ornithologists Union list, 107 mammal species found in and around the British Isles, 13 native species of reptiles and amphibians and a staggering 27,000 types of insect in the UK! Sometimes, though, our cohabitation with these wonderful creatures doesn’t appear harmonious. On occasion humans enlist the aid of ‘pest’ control. However, following major concerns for the use of glue traps being inhumane the RSPCA has welcomed news that the UK is one step closer to a ban after the Glue Traps (Offences) Bill completed its passage through the House of Commons. 

New data shows the RSPCA has received hundreds of calls about these devices. The RSPCA received over 200 reports of glue trap incidents to its cruelty line from 2016 to 2020 involving animals including cats, garden birds, hedgehogs, squirrels and even a parrot! Here is why VetHelpDirect supports this campaign!

A Sticky Situation

Mice and rats can cause problems if they decide to take up residence in inappropriate areas like our homes, usually attracted by warmth and food sources. They can be destructive and people seek ways to help deal with the issue. Sadly, glue traps are easily accessible to buy ranging from only £2-3 online but cause suffering in numerous ways. 

The unintended victim

Firstly, they are completely indiscriminate in which animals they trap. This means that the traps do not work in a specific way as to only kill the intended animal. They pose a danger not only to the intended rodents, but to other wildlife and pets too. 

Evie Button, from the RSPCA’s wildlife department, said: 

“Our officers have repeatedly been left shocked and horrified by the awful injuries inflicted to wildlife, pets and other animals.”

This raises many issues with regards to ethical use. But also adds to the unnecessary loss of British wildlife who are already on the decline. Sadly, since the 1970s, it has been shown that 41% of all UK species studied have declined. From woodlands, farmland and marine and freshwater environments, UK species are declining due to the impact of human activities such as urbanisation, agriculture, pollution and climate change.


Secondly, these devices are not humane as they cause prolonged suffering and distress. Animals who are captured in glue traps do not die instantly or humanly. They sadly experience prolonged periods of distress, exhaustion and starvation before, often causing extreme injuries to themselves whilst attempting to free themselves. A distressing thought and something we want to avoid at all costs.

The RSPCA state:

‘When animals cross the board, they become stuck by their feet. Unable to free themselves, other parts of their body then become stuck, further entrapping them. In attempting to get free they may rip out patches of fur, break bones and even gnaw through their own limbs to escape.’

Gone with the glue

The RSPCA and other bodies will continue to lobby to ensure the legislation meets the high standards required to avoid any unnecessary suffering. It has been noted that the Bill does provide some exemptions to the ban under license. Given the inherent cruelty glue traps cause, are these exemptions really necessary?

Given the availability of much more humane methods it is clear that there is no place for the use of glue traps in pest control. VetHelpDirect fully supports the concept of the Glue Traps (Offences) Bill. And hopes that public knowledge of these traps results in a sharp decrease in demand. Removal from sale from in store and online should occur promptly for the sake of animal health and welfare.

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