A new bill which will make it illegal for members of the public in England to use rodent glue traps has passed through the final stages of parliament and is now set to become law. 

Having been through the House of Commons and the House of Lords, the Glue Traps (Offences) Bill is expected to receive Royal Assent (formal agreement from the queen) in the coming days. It will then take two years for the ban to come into effect.  

Glue traps — boards coated in very strong sticky adhesives — are one of the cruelest forms of ‘pest’ control. When a mouse or rat touches the trap, their paws, tail, or fur, get stuck in the glue, leaving them unable to move. 

The more they struggle to free themselves, the more stuck they become. Many trapped individuals suffer serious injuries or worse. 

Although glue traps do not directly kill, they are not designed for caught animals to be released. If a rat or mouse is still alive by the time they are found, it’s up to the person who set the trap — often an untrained, ill-informed member of the public — to kill them. 

Humane Society International/UK, the animal charity at the forefront of the “Unstuck” campaign to end the public use of glue traps, has welcomed the new legislation. 

Claire Bass, the charity’s executive director, said: “Glue traps are crude devices that cause horrific suffering to millions of animals. It is absolutely right that their public use will be banned, and we hope this will precipitate their removal from sale by retailers since it will be illegal for their customers to use them.” 

Under the new legislation, it will become an offence for members of the public to use a glue trap to catch a rodent. However, there is an exemption for “pest” controllers, who can apply for a licence to use glue traps as a last resort. That said, the issuing of glue trap licences may fizzle out within a few years, as happened following the introduction of similar legislation in New Zealand in 2015.

“The licensing regime for glue trap use by the ‘pest’ control industry will need to be strictly managed to ensure that these cruel products are no longer casually used with impunity,” said Bass.

Naturalist and campaigner Chris Packham, who supported the “Unstuck” campaign, also welcomed the news. “I commend HSI/UK on their Unstuck campaign victory and I’m delighted that cruel and unnecessary glue traps will now be taken out of public use, prompting a more compassionate and also effective approach to dealing with unwanted wildlife. This law is great news for mice and rats, but also for the many unintended victims who get stuck in the glue, such as delicate birds, grass snakes, frogs and hedgehogs,” he said. 

Packham also said: “When wildlife, like mice and rats, are successful at living alongside humans, we label them ‘pests’ or ‘vermin’ and seem to think that’s a green light to completely disregard their welfare. Glue traps are a prime example of this. That attitude has to change”

Conservative MP Jane Stevenson, who sponsored the Bill, said: “I am absolutely thrilled that my Glue Traps Bill has passed its Third Reading, meaning it will soon receive Royal Assent and become law.”

“The use of glue traps is cruel and barbaric, and has often led to animals not intended to be caught in these traps dying in the most inhumane way,” she added. 

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