BASC lobbies ministers to keep stoat traps legal

BASC has written to ministers in Westminster and the devolved parliaments in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland to ensure that legal traps used to control stoats which predate on ground nesting birds are not caught by an international agreement designed to regulate the fur trade in Europe and North America.

An international agreement between the European Union, Russia, Canada and the USA on humane trapping for fur threatens to outlaw by default widely-used legal traps. Traps are not used in the UK for the fur trade but are used to protect ground-nesting birds and other wildlife.

The Agreement on International Humane Trapping Standards is due to be implemented in the UK by July 2016. BASC has asked each responsible minister to ensure that a derogation is applied which will exclude already tested and approved spring traps from being outlawed as an unintended consequence of an agreement designed to regulate the capture of stoats overseas for the fur trade.

BASC is working with the NGO, SGA, GWCT, NFU, Moorland Association and Countryside Alliance on this issue.

Ian Grindy, chairman of BASC’s game and gameshooting committee, said: “Humane spring traps are widely used in the UK for pest and predator control to protect wildlife, particularly ground nesting birds. If the trapping agreement is implemented without the derogation then conservation will suffer.”

Tim Russell, BASC director of conservation, said:  “The use of these traps has been regulated by the existing spring trap approval orders since 1957. These orders are regularly updated. The legislation for England was highlighted as an example of better regulation in 2014.”

“BASC has therefore approached ministers at Defra and in the devolved parliaments asking them to apply a derogation allowed for in the international agreement which makes provision for the use of spring traps to catch stoats to protect fauna and flora.”

For more information please contact the BASC press office on 01244 573052