I recently had a reply from the RSPCA. Much of the letter contained the usual spiel, ‘it has been approved for use’ and ‘it is illegal to set a trap to kill or injure a hedgehog’ etc, etc. There was however a small glimmer of hope towards the end:
‘There are also many traps that are sold for the control of mice, rats and moles that are exempt from the Spring Traps Approval Order so there is no testing done to confirm they are fit for purpose. We have commissioned research to investigate the effectiveness of these traps and found most of them to be poorly made and capable of causing suffering to any species which they trap. And that can include hedgehogs, as there are no restrictions on their use, because they are not listed on the Spring Traps Approval Order.
The RSPCA would like to see the legislation pertaining to wildlife trapping overhauled. We were hoping that a review of wildlife legislation conducted by the Law Commission would result in a new wildlife bill and then we could have acted on these and other traps like snares, either banned or more restrictions placed on their approval and use. However Brexit has resulted in the review of wildlife legislation being postponed indefinitely.
If other opportunities arise to have the legislation pertaining to the trapping of wild animals overturned, please rest assured that we will work towards that goal.’
Only a small glimmer I know, but at least they are on our side. I must say that I have noticed an explosion just lately of the availability of these other unregulated traps available in garden centres etc and have also thought that many of them could kill hedgehogs.
I have wondered whether it would be worth writing to the retailers of the A24 traps and appealing to their better nature (if anyone selling traps can have one!). If they can’t be persuaded to stop selling them, the very least they should be doing is making their customers aware that they have a legal responsibility not to kill or injure a hedgehog and that in doing so could result in prosecution. At least it would give us all something to focus on whilst we wait for the petition to be reopened.