Recent legislation changes to the trapping of stoats will mean that using Fenn and BMI Magnum Bodygrip traps as a way of stoat control will be illegal in the UK by July 2018. The AIHTS (The Agreement on International Humane Trapping Standards) agreement between the European Union, Russia, Canada and the USA with the aim to humanely trap fur bearing animals provides the new legislation which requires traps which are able to kill stoats within 45 seconds via a blow to the head. The UKs previous legislation specified that the trap had to kill the stoat within 300 seconds and this could be via a blow to the body (GSC Grays, 2016). The Fenn trap does not comply with the new legislation which is being introduced so a replacement will need to be tested, approved and produced by July 2018 when the new legislation will be introduced. As it is likely the UK will still be a member of the European Union by then, it will still have to abide by the legislation put in place at that time.
The legislation was set to be introduced in July 2016, however DEFRA have been able to extend this date to July 2018, which gives time for the replacement traps to be approved, manufactured and distributed to gamekeepers and pest controllers nationwide. The Moorland Association are hoping to have the new traps tested, approved, produced and in the hands of the consumers by Christmas time 2017 to ensure traps are seasoned in time for the ban.
Brexit is unlikely have any impact on the legislation as the UK will still remain a member of the EU for a further 2 years after article 50 has been released by the Prime Minister. After the UK has left the EU the UK Government can then decide whether to reverse the legislation put in place by the EU. However, by this point replacement traps will have been approved and produced and distributed to those concerned. The reason that Fenn traps will not comply with the new legislation is that they are a vertebrae’ trap which aims to break the neck or spine of the animal, whereas the new legislation means the death must be caused by a blow to the head.
The traps which are set to be introduced will be capable of dispatching other pests more efficiently than the traps currently available. However, Fenn traps and BMI Magnum Bodygrip traps will still be legal for use on other animals, the legislation only applies to the use of Fenn traps and similar vertebrae traps for stoat control.
Some replacement Fenn traps have already been approved by the relevant bodies for stoat control. However, the replacement traps are larger in size than the Fenn and BMI Bodygrip traps they will be replacing. Which means that the tunnels and pipes previously used to house the traps will have to be altered to accommodate the larger trap sizes.