England’s action to ban glue traps is a stirring victory for animal protection

By on May 20, 2022 with 0 Comments

With the recent passage of a bill that gained unanimous support in the House of Lords, England has joined a handful of countries and a host of companies and institutions around the world that have banned glue traps.

For mice and rats, the traps’ primary targets, who are so often excluded from society’s moral reckoning or consideration, it means relief from terrible and unnecessary suffering. That suffering is widespread, and it results from the everyday decisions of homeowners, businesses and institutions to purchase and use a crude and callous means of killing.

The glue trap is a sheet of plastic, cardboard or wood coated with adhesive; it traps mice and rats as they cross it. It’s nefarious in design, and the animals’ deaths are neither swift nor painless. They can’t get free of the extremely sticky glues, and they are left immobile to struggle and die, sometimes for days, as users “set them and forget them.” The animals’ agonizing deaths are a result of stress, exhaustion, self-mutilation, starvation and eventual dehydration or suffocation.

These animals deserve better. Both mice and rats are social animals who enjoy the company of others—rats even “laugh” when playing and care for sick members of their group. Contrary to some descriptions, mice and rats are meticulously clean and groom themselves for several hours each day. Mice are very talkative and communicate through ultrasonic sound.

To see an entire country move to end more than a century’s worth of great cruelty to these small creatures—millions upon millions of them—is deeply stirring. Humane Society International first took aim at glue traps in the U.K. in 2015 with the “Unstuck” campaign to spotlight the suffering they cause and discourage their use. We appealed to consumers, retailers, suppliers and institutions of various kinds and laid the groundwork for the legislation.

The ban will take effect following a two-year transition period that includes implementation of a licensing system permitting certain exemptions under specific conditions. License applications permitted under a similar provision in New Zealand’s 2015 prohibition on glue traps have steadily declined, with just three approvals for use in 2021 and none so far this year.

In the United States, the use of glue traps remains common. Yet, ironically, consumers seem to purchase them without comprehending that they are ineffective in the long term. Glue traps may kill some rodents, but they don’t solve the underlying cause of unwelcome rodent visitors. Without efforts to address these issues through prevention strategies, the animals keep coming back, and glue traps mostly just create vacant habitat for newcomers.

Without blocking the entry points rodents use to gain access to a building—such as gaps between pipes or holes in attic walls—or removing attractants such as improperly stored food, the trapping and killing of mice and rats will always be an endless and futile cycle. In this sense, glue traps exemplify the human tendency we often see in our work to humanely solve society’s conflicts with wildlife: People choose a quick, unreliable fix—which usually causes animals great pain—rather than sustainable and permanent solutions.

The severe cruelty of glue traps is compounded by the fact that they are nonselective. They will ensnare any small mammal, bird or reptile who crosses over them, resulting in slow and horrible deaths. A five-year tally of glue trap incidents reported to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals documented cats, birds, hedgehogs, squirrels and even a parrot as victims of the indiscriminate glue.

Our educational outreach and work in human-animal conflict mitigation reveals some consistent themes. There are two main ways to successfully manage conflicts with wild animals. The first is to identify the source of the attractants and then remove or prevent access to those attractants that animals can use as a food resource. The human sources that most often attract animals are garbage, compost, bird seed spillage and various kinds of human food and castoffs.

The second way to manage conflicts is to remove or reduce access to suitable denning and nesting areas where wild animals are unwanted—in both our yards and structures. That requires wildlife and rodent proofing.

Regardless of the control method used, rodents will return if the food supply and access to a nesting site is not controlled or eliminated.

England’s prohibition (soon to be followed by that of Scotland, whose government has also promised a ban) is the result of sustained public awareness campaigns and appeals to corporations, institutions and public facilities such as airports by HSI/UK and others. Our colleagues there have set a strong example for the rest of us.

The cruelty at issue comes up every day when people reach for the cheap and hyped-up glue trap at the hardware or big-box store. Packaging at the point-of-sale touts glue traps as “nontoxic,” “ready-to-use,” “featuring immediate grip and stretchable hold,” and “made in the USA,” and suggests that once you see animals stuck, “simply dispose of the entire glue board.” But one description you won’t read on any label is “blatantly cruel.” This reminds us that the point of intervention lies somewhere else. The choice of cruel killing, when alternatives are available, is a failure of the heart, and if we are to rid the world of glue traps, or any other cruelty, it is to every human heart that we must make our appeal.

A Connecticut bear’s death underscores the urgent need to prevent human-wildlife conflicts

By on May 18, 2022 with 0 Comments
A Connecticut bear’s death underscores the urgent need to prevent human-wildlife conflicts

The fatal shooting on May 12 of a mother black bear in Newtown, Connecticut, leaving two cubs orphaned, has understandably sparked widespread outrage and grief. Local residents were familiar with the bear; they knew her as “Bobbi” and have launched Facebook pages in her honor. . . . 

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Time is running out for dogs as testing lab refuses to release them

By on May 13, 2022 with 0 Comments
Time is running out for dogs as testing lab refuses to release them

5/16/22 Update: Over the last few days, 160 legislators from 32 states have co-signed a letter to the CEOs of Inotiv and Crinetics, urging the release of the dogs and pointing out that 14 states have approved legislation to authorize adoption of animals released by . . . 

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Tenth annual Horrible Hundred report shows progress, continuing problems with puppy mills

By on May 9, 2022 with 0 Comments
Tenth annual Horrible Hundred report shows progress, continuing problems with puppy mills

Duchess is a Havanese with a wardrobe of tiny, colorful dresses. Cooper is a senior golden retriever who still has a lot of spunk and likes to go on vacations with his family. Alis is a Weimaraner who jogs with her owner and loves to . . . 

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The other Supreme Court case you should be following 

By on May 6, 2022 with 0 Comments
The other Supreme Court case you should be following 

The norm on factory farms is to lock egg-laying hens, mother pigs and calves used for veal in cages so small they’re virtually immobilized. In 2018, California voters overwhelmingly approved Proposition 12, a historic ballot measure that banned the extreme confinement of these animals within the . . . 

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Pushing the federal law to end cruel slaughter of horses to the finish line

By on May 6, 2022 with 0 Comments
Pushing the federal law to end cruel slaughter of horses to the finish line

It is a long way from the stable, paddock and winner’s circle at Churchill Downs to the dark, dank and bloody slaughterhouses in which tens of thousands of American horses meet their sad and pitiable end each year. Yet some former racehorses do make that . . . 

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As the status of cats rises, states turn against declawing

By on May 4, 2022 with 0 Comments
As the status of cats rises, states turn against declawing

Maryland recently became the second state to enact legislation that prohibits the declawing of cats. The first to do so was New York, in 2019, and a handful of municipalities have done the same over the last several years. That declawing (the amputation of the . . . 

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Cosmetics animal testing is in the spotlight—now’s the time to end it

By on May 2, 2022 with 0 Comments
Cosmetics animal testing is in the spotlight—now’s the time to end it

One of our most urgent fights at the federal level centers on passage of the Humane Cosmetics Act in Congress. It’s got strong bipartisan support, cosmetics industry approval and the backing of scientists who understand the limitations of conventional animal tests and are committed to . . . 

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A beloved cat reuniting with his family and other small victories give us hope as war in Ukraine rages on

By on April 28, 2022 with 1 Comment
A beloved cat reuniting with his family and other small victories give us hope as war in Ukraine rages on

When Russia invaded her country in late February, Larysa Frisby of Ukraine fortunately was far from the war zone visiting family in the United States. Unfortunately, her cat Persik was back home in Odesa. Frisby managed to find help to evacuate the cat as far . . . 

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Two ‘big tusker’ elephants killed for the thrill by trophy hunters in Botswana

By on April 26, 2022 with 3 Comments
Two ‘big tusker’ elephants killed for the thrill by trophy hunters in Botswana

We learned last week about the outrageous killing of two iconic and rare “big tusker” male savanna elephants in an unpopulated corner of northern Botswana. “Big tusker” refers to an elephant with at least one tusk weighing 100 pounds but it effectively signifies an elephant . . . 

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We’re calling for SEC action over McDonald’s deception as the company confirms cruel crate confinement

By on April 22, 2022 with 5 Comments
We’re calling for SEC action over McDonald’s deception as the company confirms cruel crate confinement

Today, the Humane Society of the United States is calling on the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to investigate and hold McDonald’s accountable for deceiving shareholders and the public about its animal confinement policies. We confronted McDonald’s with a shareholder proposal after suspecting that the . . . 

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Undercover investigation exposes the horrors of animal testing—and more than 80 dogs who need our help

By on April 21, 2022 with 77 Comments
Undercover investigation exposes the horrors of animal testing—and more than 80 dogs who need our help

Today we are releasing the results of our seven-month undercover investigation at one of America’s largest animal testing laboratories. We’re asking you to join us in changing an outdated industry— animal testing—and, more immediately, in urging the release of more than 80 dogs still suffering . . . 

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