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 firstname.lastname@example.org. As well as this, try contacting your local MP (even if you doubt their support).
(9th March 2018)
We are extremely disappointed with the Government response saying that they do not think they need to reconsider their approval because the trap is only licensed for use on rats and not hedgehogs. A condition of the license for UK sale is that the trap should be set so as not to trap hedgehogs. However, anyone can buy the trap, it is unregulated and unchecked and will of course be used where hedgehogs can access it. This difficult to view video shows the A24 doing what it is designed to do, killing a hedgehog, PLEASE NOTE THIS LINKS TO A VIDEO OF A HEDGEHOG GETTING KILLED IN AN A24 TRAP IN NEW ZEALAND AND IS VERY DISTRESSING TO SEE https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6GyTnmhhUs8
Another point the government make is that there is a hedgehog excluder tunnel available (at extra cost) and this makes it safe. Sadly not, the tunnel is made from wire, so we believe will itself trap hedgehogs! The hedgehog will be able to put its head into the tunnel, seeking out the attractive lure, but then when it tries to reverse back out, its spines will catch on the wire. This is in a similar way that the old McDonald’s McFlurry cups and KFC Krushems cups accidentally trapped hedgehogs in them. The spines becoming stuck against the lip of the cup lid when the hedgehogs sought out the remaining food from the container. Thankfully we managed to get both fast food giants to change their packaging to prevent this from happening.
In November 2017, we wrote to the UK distributers of the trap (GoodNature UK). We offered to help develop a more effective tunnel and suggested that once a suitable tunnel had been designed it should be fit as standard to ensure hedgehogs are not under threat from the trap. To date we have received no reply.
If we can reach 100,000 signatures there is a good chance we can get this debated in parliament and DEFRA could reconsider. Please help by signing and sharing the petition, remember two people can sign from one email address and if you don’t receive your email asking for signature confirmation, please check your junk folder, without this confirmation you won’t have signed the petition.
Thank you for your support.