Campaigners have launched a Holyrood bid to ban “cruel” glue traps amid growing fears they cause unnecessary suffering to many animals wrongly caught in them.
The traps are legal for use on rats and mice, but wild birds, squirrels and kittens are among the creatures which are being snared.
The products are widely available and can be bought for between £3 and £15, although many stockists insist they should only be used as a last resort.
The traps came into the spotlight earlier this year when a blackbird was caught on one of the boards at an Inverness pet shop and lost a leg and many of its feathers as it frantically tried to free itself.
Now a petition has been lodged with the Scottish Parliament on behalf of campaign group Let’s Get MAD for Wildlife, which is calling on Scotland to become the first part of the UK to make them illegal.
Andrea Goddard and Lisa Harvey, who penned the Holyrood petition, have lobbied Skye MSP Kate Forbes, who will raise the issue with Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham.
“Glue traps are cruel, indiscriminate and cause immense and prolonged suffering to any animal caught in them,” the petition states. “The animal dies slowly, overcome by its injuries, suffocation in the glue or by starvation.”
The petition adds: “Even ‘pest’ species which may need to be controlled for hygiene or health and safety reasons can be trapped in much more humane ways, including those ways which bring about a swift death, minimising suffering.”
The Humane Society International is among the groups which has been agitating against the traps through its Unstuck campaign. They are already illegal in Ireland, New Zealand and the Australian state of Victoria, but campaigners believe a Scottish ban could see the rest of the UK follow suit.
Elisa Allen, director of PETA UK, backs the call for a ban. “Mice who fall prey to glue traps usually face a slow and agonising death from starvation, dehydration, or self-mutilation. Some animals chew off their own limbs while struggling to escape, whereas others get their noses or mouths stuck in the glue and suffocate.”
Following the Inverness incident, the SSPCA issued a statement recommending other methods to catch rodents. Chief Inspector Iain Allan said: “The Scottish SPCA is opposed to the use of glue traps as they cause unacceptable suffering and are totally indiscriminate in what they catch, often snaring wild animals such as birds and pets.”
Guidelines for the use of glue traps state that they must be checked at least twice daily and any captured rodents killed by a swift blow to the head. They should not be set in a way which presents a risk to “non-target” species.