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Calls for Welsh Government action on glue traps as ban in England ‘closer to reality’

The Welsh Government has been urged to ban “torturous, cruel” glue traps in Wales and not risk the nation’s animal welfare standards “falling behind” England – as the UK Government gives its support to a Private Members Bill.

Calls come after Wolverhampton North East MP Jane Stevenson proposed a Private Member’s Bill – the Glue Traps (Offences) Bill – which would ban the use of these traps in England. The Bill has the backing of the UK Government.

Glue traps, also known as ‘glue boards’ or ‘sticky boards’, consist of a sheet of plastic, cardboard or wood coated with non-drying adhesive designed to trap rodents such as mice and rats as they cross the board.

However, less than 27% of animals involved in incidents seen by the RSPCA were rodents, and a huge 73% of incidents involved non-target species such as pets and other wild animals, many of which were too badly maimed and injured to survive.

Sadly, in attempting to pull themselves free, animals may rip out patches of fur, break bones or even gnaw through their own limbs to escape.

Animals caught by the devices can often be trapped for prolonged periods of time – and can experience pain, distress and severe suffering. Unattended animals can die slowly from dehydration, starvation or exhaustion.

The devices are legal in Wales – and RSPCA Cymru is calling for action from the Welsh Government as a ban on glue traps in England “moves a step closer to reality”.

RSPCA officers across England and Wales have dealt with 236 reports of glue trap incidents to its emergency line from 2016 to 2020, including six in Wales (two in 2017, two in 2018 and two in 2019).

The charity’s head of public affairs David Bowles said: “We applaud MP, Jane Stevenson in her mission to ban these traps in England and are pleased to see this bill has UK Government support – but it’s important we don’t fall behind in Wales on this important issue.

“When animals are stuck, they begin to struggle to free themselves and can cause themselves horrible damage. Glue traps are indiscriminate in what they catch; with wild birds and even household pets often the victims.

“Our officers in both England and Wales have been left horrified at the injuries inflicted to animals by torturous, cruel glue traps, which can cause such suffering and misery.

“Since 2017, we have received six reports in Wales of animals in danger from a glue trap – but we know many more incidents sadly won’t be reported.

“As a ban in England moves a step closer to reality, we urge the Welsh Government to bring forward proposals to end the use of glue traps in Wales.”

Incidents dealt with by RSPCA officers include:

Two robins trapped

In March, two robins were rushed to the RSPCA Oak & Furrows wildlife centre in Cricklade after being found stuck on a glue trap in Lydiard Millicent in Swindon. Staff at the centre were able to remove the robins from the trap using coconut oil and butter – but sadly both birds died following their shocking ordeal.

Bromsgrove Buzzard stuck on glue trap

In Bromsgrove, in mid-March, a buzzard was spotted with his wing stuck to a glue trap near Ye Olde Black Cross pub on Worcester Road. Fortunately, the exhausted buzzard managed to free himself from the trap – and was closely monitored by the RSPCA as he recovered from the incident.

Cat in North London

The indiscriminate nature of the devices means – sadly – even domestic pets can fall victim. Last November, a cat was found trapped in an alleyway in Cricklewood Lane in north London, horribly stuck to four glue traps. Tragically, horrific injuries to the cat meant the feline ultimately had to be put to sleep – despite emergency treatment.

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