DEFRA has recently approved the use of the A24 trap in England (pending in Wales and Scotland) and BHPS are very concerned about it.
The traps (see http://www.goodnature.co.nz/products/rat-stoat/) are sold to kill hedgehogs (amongst other species), in New Zealand where hedgehogs are a non-native and considered a ‘pest’ species.
Following DEFRA approval, the traps can now be used in the UK.
Here, hedgehogs are a protected species through being listed on Schedule 6 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act. Explicitly they may not be trapped without a licence. This means that if a trap is set, albeit intended for something else, and it catches a hedgehog, then the person who set the trap can be prosecuted. Anyone setting traps for ‘vermin’ or non-protected species is obliged to take all reasonable precautions to avoid catching a protected species, since there are no ‘reasonable precautions’ to avoid catching hedgehogs using this trap, anyone who sets them is at risk of prosecution if they catch a hedgehog. It is no defence in law to say that the catch was unintentional. We call on DEFRA to withdraw approval of the use of these traps immediately so that they are not able to impact upon our already dwindling hedgehog population.
What can you do?
If you would like to make your voice heard, alongside ours, please contact the minister responsible directly by post: Dr Thérèse Coffey, Nobel House, 17 Smith Square, London, SW1P 3JR or by email email@example.com. As well as this, try contacting your local MP (even if you doubt their support).