Following an appeal from PETA India to ban the use of deadly glue traps for rodent control, the director of animal husbandry of the union territory of Lakshadweep has instructed animal husbandry units across the islands to comply with Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) advisories prohibiting glue traps. The circular cites provisions of The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PCA) Act, 1960, which prohibits causing unnecessary pain and suffering to animals, and advises a switch to humane methods of rodent control. It also reiterates the AWBI’s caution that any person using glue traps is liable to incur fines and/or be imprisoned and directs competent authorities to raise public awareness regarding humane alternatives.
In its appeal, PETA India requested that the union territory take immediate steps to implement circulars issued by the AWBI. Similar circulars taking action on glue traps have previously been issued by the governments of Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Goa, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, and West Bengal.
The use of glue traps is a punishable offence under Section 11 of The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960. Usually made of plastic trays or sheets of cardboard covered with strong glue, these traps are indiscriminate killers, often catching non-target animals, including birds, squirrels, reptiles, and frogs. This puts their use also in violation of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972, which prohibits the “hunting” of protected indigenous species. Mice, rats, and other animals caught in these traps can die of hunger, dehydration, or exposure after days of prolonged suffering. Others may suffocate when their noses and mouths become stuck in the glue, while some even chew through their legs in a desperate bid for freedom and die from blood loss. Those found alive may be thrown away along with the trap or may face an even more traumatic death, such as by bludgeoning or drowning.
The best way to control rodent populations is to make the area unattractive or inaccessible to them: eliminate food sources by keeping surfaces and floors clean and storing food in chew-proof containers, sealing trash cans, and using ammonia-soaked cotton balls or rags to drive rodents away (they hate the smell). After giving them a few days to leave, seal entry points using foam sealant, steel wool, hardware cloth, or metal flashing. Rodents can also be removed using humane cage traps but must be released where they will find adequate food, water, and shelter to help them survive.