Welfare performance of animal traps

adminTools & resources, Traps & guides

The following information relates to the welfare performance of traps used in New Zealand for capturing and/or killing small to medium-sized mammals. The tests relate to the welfare performance of the traps, NOT to their capture efficiency, safety, costs, or target specificity.

In New Zealand, trap use is regulated by the Animal Welfare Act 1999. This Act permits any trap to be used for trapping any species, but it also enables the Minister of Agriculture to recommend to the Governor General traps that should be prohibited because they cause unacceptable pain and suffering.

To enable the welfare performance of traps to be assessed in a standardised way, the National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (NAWAC) has developed a trap-testing guideline. This guideline is available from the Ministry of Primary Industries website.

MAF has recently publicly notified the prohibition of some leg-hold (foot-hold) traps, including the Lanes-Ace gin trap (and similar long-spring traps) and double-coil spring traps of a size 1½ and larger. This prohibition does not restrict the use of the smaller no. 1 models. Details of the dates that prohibition applies from for the different trap types, and changes to the distance that traps can be set from dwellings, can be found here.