Technical pest management news

12 May 2021

Defra look to restrict glue traps for pest control in action plan for Animal Welfare

Today (12 May), the government has published an action plan for animal welfare which includes the promise to support legislation to restrict the use of glue traps.

Defra plan to restrict the use of glue traps for pest control

The Action Plan for Animal Welfare was launched today by Environment Secretary George Eustice and recognises animals as sentient in law. The action plan includes a commitment to a range of new welfare measures to protect pets, livestock and wild animals.

Defra has said now that the UK has left the EU, we have new freedoms to further strengthen animal welfare standards and reinforce its position as a global champion of animal rights. 

Launching the plan, Environment Secretary George Eustice said:

“We are a nation of animal lovers and were the first country in the world to pass animal welfare laws. 

“Our Action Plan for Animal Welfare will deliver on our manifesto commitment to ban the export of live animals for slaughter and fattening, prohibit keeping primates as pets and bring in new laws to tackle puppy smuggling. 

“We will lead on the protection of animals abroad by implementing the world’s toughest ivory ban and banning the import of hunting trophies to protect iconic species. As an independent nation we are now able to go further than ever to build on our excellent track record.”

Restricting glue traps

The action plan states:

We will also look to restrict the use of glue traps as a means of pest control to help make sure rodents are despatched in a humane manner. Glue traps can cause immense suffering to rodents and other animals that inadvertently fall victim to their use.

Action Plan for Animal Welfare, Defra

No further details on what these restrictions might be have been published yet.

While BPCA supports the restriction of glue trap sales to the general public, we have always been a staunch opponent of an outright ban. 

Ian Andrew, BPCA Chief Executive, said:

“We certainly support the aims of Defra’s action plan to strengthen the UK’s commitment to animal welfare.  

“However glue traps remain an essential tool for pest professionals to protect public health when all else fails or time is critical to protect human life. In short, they’re the last line of defence for some of the most vulnerable people in our society.

“We’ll continue to talk to Defra and advocate strongly that BPCA member companies should still have access to these tools, making it clear that we fully support a ban on the sale to the general public.

“Our community is continually disgusted by images of non-target species being caught on glue traps or rodents being left to suffer by untrained users. The only safe pair of hands for a rodent glue board is a qualified pest professional.

“We will continue to represent members and make sure Defra considers the public health implications of its action plan.

Lead ammunition, snares and tougher sentencing 

Several other areas highlighted in the Action Plan also have the potential to impact the pest management industry, including restricting the use or sale of lead ammunition and a call for evidence on the use of snares. 

The issue of animal sentience is central to the report. The government plan to tackle animal welfare issues is via tougher sentencing and enforcement of wildlife crime. 

What else is in the Action Plan?

The Action Plan for Animal Welfare also sets out how the government will:

Improve welfare for pets by: 

  • tackling puppy smuggling through changes to import rules
  • introducing compulsory microchipping for cats
  • cracking down on pet theft through a new government taskforce
  • banning remote controlled training e-collars.

Protect wild animals by:

  • making it illegal to keep primates as pets
  • introducing new laws to crack down on illegal hare coursing
  • funding wildlife conservation projects both at home and abroad.

Protect animals abroad by:

  • banning the import of hunting trophies from endangered animals
  • banning the sale of ivory by implementing the Ivory Act this year
  • prohibiting the import and export of detached shark fins to protect the iconic shark species
  • exploring a ban on the sale of foie gras
  • banning the advertisement in this country of unacceptable low-welfare animal practices abroad – such as elephant rides.

Improve welfare for farmed animals by:

  • ending the export of live animals for fattening and slaughter
  • introducing new measures to improve welfare during transport
  • giving the police more powers to protect farm animals from dangerous or out of control dogs
  • examining the use of cages for poultry and farrowing crates for pigs
  • improving animal welfare at slaughter
  • incentivising farmers to improve animal health and welfare through future farming policy.

What are the next steps?

To enact these plans, the government has an ambitious programme of legislation in the upcoming session, including the Animal Welfare (Sentience), Kept Animals, and Animals Abroad Bills, which will deliver all of the government’s manifesto commitments on animal welfare.

All non-legislative work will be progressed in parallel. Legislation on many of the policy areas referenced in these plans will be introduced in the coming months. 

The government has committed to gathering further evidence and working closely with stakeholders and the public. 

Further reading:


What do you think about Defra’s Action Plan? Let us know your thoughts, and please indicate if you work for a member company. 

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