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23 November 2022

BPCA Chief Exec gives evidence to Welsh Select Committee on glue boards


BPCA's Chief Executive Ian Andrew represented the pest control industry in the fight for glue board use at a Welsh Parliament Select Committee earlier this month. 


The hearing took place on November 9, and was an opportunity for a committee of Welsh members of parliament to scrutinise the proposed legislation in the Agriculture (Wales) Bill. 

Part of the Bill includes the provision for a ban on the use of snares and glue traps, and stakeholders were invited to present evidence, both for and against. 

In addition to the Welsh committee members, other attendees included: 

The panel began by looking at the issue of banning snares.

Kicking off was RSPCA Cymru's head of public affairs, David Bowles, who spoke strongly for a ban on the use of both glue traps and snares.

When talking about the latter, he said: 

"Wales will be the first country in the UK to ban snares, and would join a number of other countries to do that, including Ireland, Portugal, Spain and Poland. So, it would be great for Wales to join those countries, and I think that is testament to its animal welfare credentials.

"The RSPCA would like to see a ban also on the sale of these items, as well as the use."

Billie-Jade Thomas, senior public affairs office at League Against Cruel Sports, agreed:

"We believe that only an outright ban on the sale, possession, manufacturing and use of these devices will fully protect animals from snares."

Against glue trap use

After a lengthy discourse on the use of snares, attention turned to glue traps. 

On the subject of a possible exemption for professional pest controllers, Bowles commented: 

"This is obviously what's happened in England, and it means that we now have...a period of trying to work out what the guidelines are going to be, and how you separate out an official pest controller from a non-official pest controller. 

"The RSPCA believes that if you're going to give an exemption for pest controllers, your definition of what that is—maybe they should be just solely a member of the professional organisation—needs to be very tight."

He continued, "The methods of how they use that [glue traps] and where[...]need to be very tightly controlled. The RSPCA is concerned that, for instance, hospitals have been asking in Wales for an exemption for them. We don't believe that that is necessary.

"We believe that the glue traps are very, very cruel and have huge bycatch problems, probably even greater than snares. So, whilst you may be looking at an exemption, look at what's been happening in England, where the glue trap legislation hasn't yet been enforced because of this delay in working out who's a pest controller and who isn't."

Collin Wilson, British Veterinary Association Welsh branch president, also raised the issue of the definition of a pest professional.

"The question I would ask is: so what is a professional pest controller? Do we have any definition of that? I don't think we have. I think if you were going to have that, you'd have to have some sort of formal training recognition. You'd also have to have some form of disciplinary process, such as that if individuals failed to comply with their requirements, they could be struck off."

Keeping glue traps in the toolkit

In defense of glue traps, Ian Andrew began:

"The use of glue traps is to protect public health. When rats and mice are out there, they're doing their own thing[...]whenever they're inside and in contact with humans, that's when the issues start.

"The glue board is the only tool we have in our toolkit to catch a rat or a mouse quickly. There's nothing else. We have other tools and they will control rats and mice eventually, but it's whether you're willing to wait[...]for that to happen. So, it is an issue of speed.

"But, let's not forget, from a public health perspective, rats and mice carry lots of nasty diseases. Most of the diseases are reportable, notifiable diseases to the UK Health Security Agency. Thankfully, they don't happen often because pest controllers do a good job at keeping rats and mice out of buildings."

He also commented on how BPCA is strongly against the use of glue traps by amateur users, and supports a licensing system for professional use only. 

When asked what a licensing system for a pest professional should look like, Ian explained that any system would need to account for speed of use and that BPCA would be happy to help build a workable licensing scheme. 

What next?

About the hearing and what's to come, Ian commented: 

"It is difficult to second guess where the select committee is at and where the Senedd will be at when the Bill returns there.

"I am confident we have done as much as we can through the Select Committee, and by getting UK Hospitality and BRC to support our position in Wales to get an exemption for professional pest controllers, just as we managed to secure in England."

Full video and transcript

The above wrap-up is just a highlight of the main points made, however the full committee hearing heard much more detail on the reasons for snare and glue trap use, plus the European definition of a pest professional and much more. 

Read the full transcript in both Welsh and English here:

Or watch the video, below.

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