Action to improve animal welfare

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Plans to ban glue traps in Scotland.

Legislation to end the harmful practice of setting ‘glue traps’ must be introduced by the Scottish Government to protect animal welfare.

The Scottish Animal Welfare Commission (SAWC) has undertaken a review of the use of glue traps and has concluded that there are significant animal welfare issues associated with their use, not only for rodents but also for non-target species such as wild birds.

In view of this, the Scottish Government intends to implement a full ban and will seek input from stakeholders through consultation, before proposing legislation during this Parliament.

Environment Minister Mairi McAllan said:

“We are committed to maintaining the highest welfare standards in Scotland for animals, including wildlife.

“We have carefully considered the findings of the Scottish Animal Welfare Commission, together with all other relevant evidence, I am pleased to announce to Parliament today that we intend to end the practice cruel act of installing glue traps.

“The Commission’s report makes it clear that there are significant animal welfare concerns associated with the use of glue traps, not only for rodents but also for other animals such as wild birds. Therefore, we will introduce legislation to ban glue traps in this Parliament.

“Our intention is to prohibit the sale as well as the use of glue traps. However, certain implications stemming from the law on the internal market can undermine the decisions taken by this Parliament, including on decentralized climate and environmental policy. We intend to resolve these issues.

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Glue traps are devices most often, but not exclusively, used by professional contractors in food premises, where the use of rodenticidal poisons is undesirable due to the risk of poison contamination. Glue boards work by placing them along areas where rats and mice are likely to frequent; once the animal steps on the board, it is then firmly stuck to it and is unable to break free. Once an animal is captured, the glue trap can be retrieved and the animal shipped.

Glue traps can cause unnecessary suffering to trapped rodents and non-target species, as Humane Society International UK states:

“Every year across Scotland and the rest of the UK, glue traps, widely available for as little as 99 pence, cause countless numbers of trapped rodents horrific injuries and excruciating and prolonged death from the starvation, dehydration, suffocation, exhaustion or stress. Animals captured by these devices have been known to break and dislocate limbs, tear off fur and skin, and even attempt to gnaw limbs in order to break free.

There is currently no legislation governing the use of glue trap boards to catch rodents in Scotland. However, if an animal is caught in one it immediately falls under the Health and Welfare of Animals (Scotland) Act 2006 as the animal is now under human control . The operator must therefore humanely destroy any captured target species, or clear and release, or if necessary, humanely destroy any incidentally captured non-target species.

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