1 July, 2012
Caught in a trap
New research, led by Dr Sandra Baker and Dr Stephen Ellwood of the WildCRU, has demonstrated that there is wide variation in the performance of 'break-back traps' used to kill mice and rats, and of mole traps. These traps are exempt from the welfare approval legislation that covers all other spring traps in the UK.
The study measured the mechanical performance of traps, and no animals were involved, but some traps were found to 'snap' with an impact momentum eight times weaker than others designed for the same species, and grip with a clamping force over five times weaker than the strongest.
'While we have no welfare data to relate to our mechanical measurements, our results indicate considerable scope for improving the humaneness of these traps. Their long-standing exemption from the approval process has probably hindered improvements in welfare standards in these traps', said Dr Baker.
The work was conducted in collaboration with Dr Vito Tagarielli, now at the Department of Aeronautics, Imperial College.
The study is published in PLoS ONE.
See the full press release.