Action to improve animal welfare

Plans to outlaw glue traps in Scotland.

Legislation to end the harmful practice of setting ‘glue traps’ is to be brought forward by the Scottish Government in order to protect animal welfare.

The Scottish Animal Welfare Commission (SAWC) undertook a review of the use of glue traps and concluded that there are significant animal welfare issues related to their use, not only for rodents but also for non-target species such as wild birds.

Given this, the Scottish Government intends to implement a full ban and will seek stakeholders’ views through a consultation, before forward bringing legislation during this parliamentary term.

Environment Minister Mairi McAllan said:

“We are committed to maintaining the highest welfare standards in Scotland for animals, including wildlife.

“We have carefully considered the Scottish Animal Welfare Commission's findings, alongside all other relevant evidence, I am pleased to announce in Parliament today that we intend to end the cruel practice of setting glue traps.

“The Commission's report is clear that there are significant animal welfare issues related to the use of glue traps, not only for rodents but also for other animals such as wild birds. Therefore, we will bring forward legislation to ban glue traps in this parliamentary term.

“Our intention is to ban the sale as well as the use of glue traps. However, there are implications arising from the Internal Market Act which can undermine decisions made by this Parliament, including in devolved climate and environmental policy. We intend to work through these issues.”


Glue traps are devices, most commonly but not exclusively, used by professional contractors in food premises, where the use of rodenticide poisons are undesirable due to the risk of poison contamination. The glue boards work by placing them along areas where rats and mice are likely to frequent; once the animal steps onto the board, it is then firmly stuck to it and is unable to free itself. Once an animal is captured the glue trap can be retrieved and the animal dispatched.

Glue traps can cause trapped rodents and non-target species to suffer unnecessarily, as outlined by Humane Society International UK:

“Every year across Scotland and the rest of the UK, glue traps, widely available for as little as 99p, cause untold numbers of trapped rodents to suffer horrific injuries and an agonising and protracted death from starvation, dehydration, suffocation, exhaustion or stress. Animals caught on these devices are known to break and dislocate limbs, tear off fur and skin, and even attempt to gnaw off limbs in order to free themselves.”

There is currently no legislation governing the use of glue trap boards to catch rodents in Scotland. However, should an animal be caught in one, then they immediately fall under the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006 since the animal is now under the control of man. The operator therefore should humanely destroy any target species caught, or extricate and release, or if necessary, humanely destroy any non-target species accidently caught.


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