The trapping and killing of wildlife to increase the number of gamebirds available for shooting parties is a daily routine for many gamekeepers.
It is legal to kill some species (e.g. stoats, weasels, foxes, crows) as long as certain conditions are met and it is illegal to kill other species (e.g. most birds including raptors, some mammals) unless a specific licence has been issued for limited purposes.
Earlier this month new legislation was enacted concerning the legal killing of stoats (see earlier blog, here) and there are now General Licences which include new rules and regulations, particularly around the use of Fenn traps, although there is still a lot of uncertainty on some issues.
[A Fenn trap set on a log, photo from the Untold Suffering report published by the Revive Coalition last year]
For those of you interested in this subject there are two excellent blogs that are worth taking the time to read:
The first one is by the animal welfare charity OneKind and it explains some of the welfare issues associated with Fenn traps and why these traps are no longer permitted to be used to trap and kill stoats. Read the blog HERE
The second blog is by author and former police wildlife crime officer Alan Stewart and it explains and critiques the new legislation relating to the killing of stoats. Read the blog HERE
If you’re out walking on your permitted exercise route and you spot one of these traps it’s worth taking a photo, noting the location (use the app What3Words, it’s brilliantly accurate and easy to use) and reporting it. Given the police are pretty busy at the moment it’s probably worth reporting it to OneKind and the RSPB. Their expert staff can assess the photograph and either advise you that the trap looks lawful or they can report it to the police if it looks dodgy.