We have had discussions with the RSPCA and suggested research by the Farm Animal Welfare Council on means of dealing with the commensals, regarded as pests, of farming activities; much of such consideration would relate also to animals of all species regarded as pests in other environments, which would include countryside pursuits and industrial and urban situations.
1. Fishing activities (e.g. for lobsters) entail routine practice of trapping and killing of wildlife. Further analogies for consideration arise in manifold instances of animals caged and thus restrained from life in the wild for the purposes of food production or for their skins and fur. DEFRA’s proposed strategy for comprehensive planning of Animal Health and Welfare must embrace all sentient life and manifest respectful behaviour to all species cast (often unfairly) as “friend or foe” or unworthy of decent attention.
2. Some methods of trapping, dragging out, and killing unreasonably escape inclusion within the purview of the information you have provided. Such would be driving and containment of unwanted animals into burrows, warrens, tunnels, and pipes for attack by objectionable means by ferrets, dogs, or by gassing.
3. Snares and traps that deny the victim the means of sustenance (e.g. water and food) and of self-defence against predators and infestations must be banned.
4. Use of breakback and spring traps for instantaneous killing of small rodents may continue to be used, although supervision, policing, and observation must be enforced to seek good standards in siting and efficacy and in attainment of high levels of specificity (i.e. few bycatches).
5. Use of suitable cage traps (“humane traps”) should be governed by these requirements at least:
i. Size and siting for the intended victims with minimum error and avoidance of undue constraint, stress and discomfort (e.g. protection from extremes of temperature, inclement weather etc.)
ii. Provision of water and sustenance.
iii. All devices must carry details of the responsible setter.
iv. Training and licensing of setters must ensure that they are equipped and competent in appropriate means of instantaneous killing or intended release of captives into a friendly environment.
6. Policing of all these means of control must be rigorous, recorded, and enforced.
Dr. Alan Long