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27th Oct, 2021

Buzzard's lucky escape from 'deadly' glue trap in Bromsgrove prompts RSPCA warning

Bromsgrove Editorial 15th Mar, 2021

THE RSPCA has issued a stark warning about the dangers of deadly glue traps after a buzzard almost died in one in Bromsgrove.

The traps – also known as glue boards or sticky traps – consist of a sheet of cardboard, plastic or wood coated with non-drying adhesive.

They are legal and are used to catch rodents whose limbs get stuck to the boards as they move across them.

But the animal charity said they posed a massive danger to other wildlife and pets.

In the Bromsgrove case last Monday a buzzard was spotted in difficulty near Ye Olde Black Cross pub on Worcester Road after its wing became stuck.

A passer-by noticed the poor bird thrashing around and contacted the RSPCA.

RSPCA animal rescuer Rachel Ward was sent to the scene and could see the buzzard had actually managed to detach the trap from his wing but he was exhausted from his ordeal.

Rachel said: “When I attended I could see the buzzard had managed to get the trap off but he was very tired and was sitting in a nearby bush.”

She added he was unable to lift off but fortunately there was no damage to his wings.

“I monitored him and luckily he was eventually able to fly off – but he could so easily have suffered a lingering death had he not been able to get free.”

She described the use of glue traps as ‘horrendous’.

“People sometimes use them to deal with problems caused by animals like rats and mice but they are cruel and cause awful suffering.

“Other animals also become victims but a pet cat could have also easily been trapped too and would have also endured terrible suffering.”

Anyone with information as to who put the trap down in Bromsgrove should call the RSPCA appeals line on 0300 123 8018.

Opposition to glue trap use

The RSPCA’s scientific officer, Evie Button, 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.

“Once the poor animal is stuck, they begin to struggle to free themselves, and in doing so, more and more parts of their body become trapped in the glue.

“In their increasing panic and desperation to escape, rats and mice have been found to tear patches of their fur out, break bones, and even gnaw their own limbs off in a bid to be free.

“After only three to five hours, trapped animals have been found exhausted and covered in their own faeces and urine.

“Many animals die within the first 24 hours from starvation, dehydration, exhaustion, or even suffocation – caused by the glue blocking their nasal passages.

“But many continue to suffer for long after that.

“If the animal is found whilst still alive – they can be left for days at a time without being checked – many people may then try to kill them, perhaps by drowning or some other method that then causes further suffering.

“Other people may just dump the live animal and the trap in a rubbish bin, or they might not even check on the trap at all.

“So the animal is left to suffer even more before dying.”

Public opinion

Although glue traps are legal to use and are openly available to everyone, a YouGov poll carried out on behalf of the Humane Society International UK in June 2015 found 68 per cent of those questioned felt that the use of glue traps should be banned.

The British Pest Control Association (BPCA) and the National Pest Technicians Association (NPTA) put together a Code of Practice for the Humane Use of Rodent Glue Boards.

This listed a number of requirements including frequent trap checks, protection of non-target species, humane dispatch of captured rodents and that distributors should not supply these traps to persons who are not trained or competent.

Despite this code, glue traps have remained available to anyone though hardware stores, garden centres and online retailers.

Despite the lack of any legal restriction on who can purchase these traps, any animal caught in a glue trap is protected under the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

This means if an animal suffers unnecessarily as a result of inappropriate or poor use of the trap, or through a failure to release or kill the animal in an appropriate way, an offence may have been committed.

It is also an offence under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 to intentionally kill, injure or take wild birds.

Although some actions may be taken against wild birds under licence, the use of glue traps is not permitted under any licence.

Anyone caught deliberately using a glue trap to catch, injure or kill a wild bird can be sentenced to up to six months in prison and given an unlimited fine if found guilty.

Can you help with the RSPCA’s campaign?

The RSPCA is currently running a ‘Wild Animals and Glue Traps’ project.

The charity feels that if these traps have to be used, they should only be used by trained professionals.

As part of this project, the RSPCA is asking anyone who sees glue traps on sale to the general public to contact them at wildlife@rspca.org.uk

People should tell the charity –

  • The name and address of the store where the traps are being sold (include postcode where possible).
  • The manager or owner of the store concerned (if known) and the address if different to above.
  • The date the traps were seen on sale.

The RSPCA will then write to the retailer and ask them to consider stopping the sale of glue traps at their store, remove all glue traps from their stock and not to re-stock them in the future – to prevent the problem recurring.

The project has been very successful and many stockists have taken these traps off their shelves.

For more information on the ‘Wild Animals and Glue Traps’ project, click here.

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