18th May 2017 at 5:39 pm #6414
Many of you will have heard of the Goodnature A24 trap (used to kill hedgehogs, as well as rats and stoats, in New Zealand, where hedgehogs are an introduced species and considered to be a pest). This has now been licensed for use here, putting Britain’s hedgehogs at risk. This is a new type of trap which ejects the killed animal and repeatedly resets itself. So it would be possible for multiple hedgehogs to be killed in just one night. BHPS started a Petition about this (asking DEFRA to withdraw approval for it), but the Petition had to be closed early as a result of the General Election.
Several of us have written to DEFRA and our former MPs. The following is the latest response from DEFRA to my third letter to them regarding this trap. It is similar to the others.
Received 18th May 2017.
Latest response from DEFRA:
[ “Thank you for your further email of 25 April about the Goodnature A24 trap.
Spring trap approval under the Pests Act 1954 considers the humanness of the trap when capturing the target species. It does not look at a trap’s ability to capture non-target species. This is a matter for the trap user to address.
I can only reiterate that it is for trappers to ensure they do not commit offences when using traps. The Goodnature A24 trap is not specifically designed to kill hedgehogs, it just happens to be targeted at hedgehogs in New Zealand. Few traps are designed to catch a specific species and their impact on non-target species is usually dependent on how they are deployed
The fact that it is an auto re-setting trap should not prevent it’s lawful use, although its potential to kill repeatedly without trapper intervention makes it all the more important that trappers ensure they meet their legal obligations to avoid harm to non-target species.” ]
It is not possible for trappers to guarantee to meet their legal obligations to avoid harm to hedgehogs in this country, if using this trap – particularly given hedgehog’s variability in size, climbing ability, etc. The fact that this trap is actually intended to kill hedgehogs in New Zealand and that it is a self resetting trap, puts it in a different league to other traps. DEFRA’s previous letter suggested that the trap not be used in areas where hedgehogs are present. Hedgehogs could be anywhere where there would be likely to be rats or stoats. The trapper may not be aware of this, so it is unfair to the trapper as well as to the hedgehogs. In addition, the trap is marketed as a rat and stoat trap, so the trapper may not be aware that they need to take special steps to avoid catching hedgehogs, even if they could. The whole thing is a complete nonsense and it is hedgehogs that could potentially lose their lives as a result.
It is disheartening to get this kind of response, but please don’t give up pushing for the licence for this trap to be removed, even though the petition had to be stopped for the election. Someone may be able to find the magic words which get through. Hopefully a new petition will be started after the election and we will all need to sign it again.
In the meantime, please write to DEFRA and, if you have the opportunity, please speak to any parliamentary candidates you meet about this matter. The hedgehogs are depending on us for this19th May 2017 at 7:51 am #6421
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.19th May 2017 at 8:52 am #6424
I did wonder about contacting shops which sell them, but I haven’t actually seen any for sale in shops. One of the places I saw online, did mention the possibility of the traps killing hedgehogs and to site them carefully, but the others didn’t even mention hedgehogs at all, when I looked.
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