You will most likely be aware that there are changes coming to the use of Fenn traps in the UK. This is a key policy and research area for the GWCT, and we are currently working with DEFRA and Scottish Government policy teams on how changes to legislation are implemented.
- As part of world trade agreements (known as AIHTS), Fenn traps (both Fenn Mk 1V and Mk V1, along with Solway/Springer equivalents and possibly others currently listed under The Spring Traps Approval (Scotland) Order 2011) are no longer considered humane for use on some fur-bearing species.
- In the UK this affects traps set to catch stoats (regardless of the fact they are not caught for their fur in the UK).
- GWCT represent research and practice at meetings with DEFRA and we are in discussion with Scottish Government and SASA (Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture) about what the next trap legislation change will say.
- We know that this legislation change is irreversible, regardless of Brexit, and as discussions stand at the moment we have until July 2018 for all stoat traps to be compliant with AIHTS..
- After this date Fenn-type traps may still be used to take rats and other approved species; but it will not be a defence to say, “But I set it for a rat/weasel/squirrel, Officer…” should a stoat be found caught.
- Two trap types currently meet the AIHTS standard (100% certainty that a stoat will die in the required 45 seconds or less):
- the DoC series (150, 200 and 250)
- the Goodnature A24 rat and stoat trap. The latter has only been approved for use in England and NOT (yet) in Scotland.
- Trap makers, users and legislators need to work hard to test other traps that will meet the required standard for humane stoat capture.
- There is a limited amount of money currently available to pay for this testing (c. £15,000 per trap with no guarantee it will pass); only DEFRA can test and approve new designs.
- We are acutely aware of the limited time ahead of us, that new traps need to be of a similar size to the Fenns they will replace, be readily available and reasonably priced. They must also be practical for setting, whether as a run-through or baited, and they must be suitable for rats, weasels and other species, as well as stoats so that one design of trap can be legally set for whatever pest it might catch.
Where does this leave practitioners who need to re-equip?
- Costly and bulky but 'future-proof' is to buy as few DoC (or Goodnature in England) traps as possible until we know the alternative options.
- Cheaper, but time limited in value, is to buy as few Fenn-type traps as possible and, when they can’t be used for stoats, save them for use as rat/squirrel traps.
We will keep you updated through our website as and when we make progress.