The UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) decision to approve a New Zealand manufactured A24 self-resetting multi-species killing trap for use in England has been met with outrage and protest by animal welfare campaigners.

Though the A24 trap may only be used for the purpose of killing rats and stoats, organisations such as the British Hedgehog Preservation Society and the  League Against Cruel Sport have pointed out that there is no way of ensuring that non-target species, such as hedgehogs, are not killed by it.

The multi-species killing A24 trap is used to kill hedgehogs in New Zealand, where hedgehogs are non-native and considered a ‘pest’ species. The trap advertises itself as giving ‘more bang for your buck’, as, once triggered, the killed animal falls from the trap, which immediately resets itself up to 24 times.

In Scotland, Wales, and England, hedgehogs are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, Schedule 6, meaning that they cannot be killed.

Commenting, Ruth Maguire MSP, who is the Scottish Species Champion for Hedgehog, said:

“Though the UK Government has stated that the A24 trap is not approved for use against hedgehogs in England, the indiscriminate nature of the trap means that no reasonable precautions can be taken by those setting traps to avoid catching hedgehogs.

This is all the more concerning given that the traps are used to kill hedgehogs in New Zealand, where they are manufactured.

In addition, as the trap kills instantly, there is no way to release species, such as the hedgehog, who become unintentionally trapped.

I am shocked and disappointed that the UK Government has approved the use of this indiscriminately deadly trap and call on Scotland and Wales to protect our hedgehogs and refuse to approve the A24 trap.

English hedgehogs already need our help, however, and I would everyone to sign the petition to the UK Parliament launched by the British Hedgehog Preservation Society calling on DEFRA to withdraw approval of the trap.

We must do all we can to overturn this deadly threat to our precious hedgehog population.”