supersize me

Check this out. It’s a giant supersized clam trap (also known as a Larsen Mate trap, a snapper trap and a butterfly trap) that was on sale at this summer’s Galloway Country Fair.

These traps are supposedly for catching crows.

Do you think the trap size has been increased from the standard size to allow the trapped victim more space to be comfortable before it’s bludgeoned to death by the trap operator? Or do you think the size has been increased to allow the capture of larger species…?

We’ve blogged a lot about these controversial traps over the last 12 months (see here and scroll down through the posts) and we’re likely to be blogging about them again before the end of the year as we await SNH’s proposed ‘Code of Conduct’ on trap use, likely to be published in November/December when the 2014 General Licences are announced…

supersized clam trap

18 thoughts on “supersize me”

  1. Not wishing to defend them in any way — I absolutely loathe traps and snares of any kind — but the bigger ones, such as this, are possibly less likely to injure a bird or animal by not catching them in the actual jaws of the trap, if you see what I mean. In theory at least, the captives, including the non-target species, are less likely to be harmed by this bigger trap and the non target species can be safely released. In practice, who knows what happens?

    1. Nothing of the sort, James. The welfare of any creature caught in these traps does not feature in the minds of those using them. If a larger bird or animal does enter one of the smaller traps, then chances are its going to be carnivorous and therefore an enemy of the trap operator, so its life is going to be cut short regardless of the species’ legal protection. There will be very few, if any, non-target species that will ever be released alive.

      The following is a quote from SNH on the usage of these traps;

      “Instead, we decided to take steps to minimise the risk to non-target species by placing a special condition that eggs or bread are the only permitted baits for use with Larsen mate and Larsen pod traps.”

      So that brings us to the question of why a larger trap is required, and the answer is patently obvious. Larger traps for larger species. Now which of Scotland’s larger meat-eaters could possibly be the target species? Small mammals simply do not need a trap of this size, so of the larger mammals we have the fox, which is already covered by snaring, poisoning, gassing or shooting (and even it might be too large for the trap). Then we have the Otter, the Badger, the Wildcat or the Pine Marten. All of these are legally protected, so they can’t be targeted. That effectively rules out all the mammals, which leaves us with birds. Again, all of the smaller corvids are killed through a variety of means – shooting, trapping, bludgeoning and poisoning – and wouldn’t require this size of trap. And the Raven is afforded protection unless under special licence. We are rapidly running out of potential species for traps of this size and are now only left with raptors, which are all protected. So it looks like the gamekeeping industry are preparing to ignore the wildlife laws of this land – again!

      1. Will you lot make your mind up, it wasnt long ago you were complaining the standard Larson mate was too small now it’s too big! There is a stipulated minimum size to prevent injury to any caught species but no maximum size it doesn’t mean they are designed for illegal purposes!

        1. If the traps are designed to capture the few species that are permitted by law, then why is there not a maximum size? Why would you need such a large trap for a crow or a magpie, a stoat or a weasel? It’s as I’ve already mentioned – larger traps for larger species.

          The traps might not be designed for illegal purposes, but they most certainly will be used illegally, to capture and then kill protected species, most days on the majority of shooting estates.

      2. Can anything be done to stop the laws being broken, I think all traps, snares should be outlawed in a civilized country, regardless of how much money is involved. Otherwise, a barbaric country for sure….

  2. I really can’t understand how the usual size trap is allowed in UK, supposedly a civilized country and an even bigger one surely to trap everything that will fit, just cruel…. whatever wretched size….

  3. I don’t understand the need for these traps. Crows and magpies are easily controlled using Larsen and ladder traps, which allow the safe release of non-target species.

    1. The Larson mate does exactly the same it’s just a slightly different catching version of a Larson trap. They are a live catch trap so caught species are not injured.

      1. Not injured? What about those that starve to death through wilful neglect, or those that are bludgeoned to death once the gamekeeper gets to them – and that does include all the protected species that are regularly and illegally targeted by the vast majority of shooting estates. Stop pretending that animal welfare is considered when these traps are set.

      2. And its more portable and less conspicuous than a Larson trap, enabling the gamekeeper to carry out his or her illegal activities far easier.

  4. xxxxxx xxxxxxxx xxxxxxxx xxxxxxx xxxxxxx xxxxxxx xxxxxxx xxxxxxx xxxxxxx xxxxxxx xxxxxxx xxxxxxx xxxxxxx xxxxxxx xxxxxxx xxxxxxx. Many of the Hoodies were in a poor state and appeared to have been trapped for several days, this seems to be normal practice, at least the birds managed to fly away successfully, no doubt to be caught again later. xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx and any pity I might have felt was for the state of the minds of the unscrupulous people who set these barbaric devices. These new clam traps are just a further escalation of the barbaric practices these sick minds think up to kill and maim wildlife for their own gratification.

    This is supposed to be the 21st century we are living in, not the middle ages, it’s high time the Victorian attitudes of the shooting estates and their minions were put an end to once and for all. The people owning and running these estates should take a good look at themselves and say, should we still be doing this in this day and age, we are supposed to be better than this, how can we be the pillars of society we make ourselves out to be when we can stoop so low.

    If these people can’t or are unwilling to control themselves and put a stop to this illegal wanton destruction of our wildlife and it’s habitats then their shooting privileges should be taken away from them permanently, their estates should be confiscated and turned into wildlife parks so that all can benefit from them, including the wildlife !!!

    1. That interesting you are admitting breaking the law by interfering with a legal trap. Pretty hypocritical when you always accuse pretty much every keeper in the country of being a criminal!

      1. Who’s breaking the law, the person who sets an unmarked trap and then leaves it’s captives to either die of starvation or batter themselves to death while trying to escape, or the person who releases them to alleviate any further suffering. It’s a stipulation of the licence, see here, that Larson type traps are supposed, I emphasise supposed, to be visited at least once a day and any LEGALLY captured prey is supposed, again I emphasise supposed, to be despatched (killed) humanely. I have seen many Larson type traps that have not been visited for weeks let alone days, many containing dead or dying birds, these are the ones I am talking about.

  5. Agree with nirofo although these same loathsome ignoramouses are the very people that have been voted into govern our country. The current climate is unlikely to change for the better until as a nation we stop voting for chin-less victorians and find some educated people we can vote for that have an understanding of their environment rather than setting about mindlessly destrying it.

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