Agreement on International Humane Trapping Standards (AIHTS)

The agreement on International Humane Trapping Standards (AIHTS) is between the European Union, Russia, Canada and the USA. It was developed largely in relation to the trapping of fur-bearing animals and the trade in fur.

It includes a number of requirements for testing and the use of traps for these fur-bearing species. Of these, only otter, beaver, marten, badger and stoat occur in the UK, and only the stoat can be taken or killed without a special licence.

Traps are widely used in the UK to protect gamebirds and wildlife from a number of predators, which includes stoats, so the agreement will potentially have implications for much of the trapping carried out in the UK.

The AIHTS process began in 1997 but did not come into force until July 2008. Parties to the agreement then had until 2013 to certify traps and a further period until July 2016 for implementation. Originally it looked as if the EU would produce a directive on this, but in 2012 it decided against this and the implementation was left to the individual member states.

With the date for implementation approaching and a number of the currently stoat-approved traps unlikely to be tested against the standard in time, BASC lobbied Government and a new implementation plan including a deadline of July 2018, was set for compliance of ‘stoat’ traps with AIHTS.

As part of the plan, a Defra-led Technical Working Group was set up to look at the issue of trap testing and assessment of whether proposed new traps are likely to meet the requirements of AIHTS. BASC is represented on this group and is also financially contributing towards the testing of new traps.

A key criteria for the group is that any replacement traps must be effective and comparable in size, cost and availability to those currently used.

Following the EU referendum, there was uncertainty if Brexit would have any impact on AIHTS. However, after representation by BASC and other organisations, ministers confirmed that they want the UK to meet its obligations irrespective of our membership of the EU.

Whats our position?

On the 30 April 2018, DEFRA closed the consultation on AIHTS. You can download the BASC response to the consultation below.

Update

December 2018

It is planned that AIHTS will be now be implemented in the following way-

Spring Trap Approval Orders

 Authorised traps are listed on Spring Traps Approval Orders (STAOs). These STAOs contain details of specific traps, the species which they are permitted to be set for, circumstances and any particular requirements for their use.

This will continue and a new STAO (England) has been made and came into effect on 1 January 2019, updating the list of approved spring traps and superseding previous STAOs.

Some newly-approved traps will be added and others (currently only permitted in a ‘single entry set’), will be allowed in run-through configuration (the most common form of trapping in the UK) for stoats. Some older trap designs, such as the Imbra and Juby which are no longer produced, have been removed for all species.

The STAOs also include a date (1 April 2020) after which time certain traps such as the Fenn-type, WCS tube trap and BMI Magnum models will no longer be permitted for stoats.

This transition or interim period is essential, as manufacturers will need time to produce traps, get them to the trappers and for trappers to make the transition to the new traps – but the timescales are still tight. These other (Fenn etc.) traps will still retain their approval for other species such as rats and squirrels.

Because implementation of AIHTS is a devolved matter, equivalent STAOs will need to be made elsewhere in the UK (Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland) by 31 March 2019.

General licence

 Because AIHTS applies to both live catch and kill (spring) traps, the current plan is to introduce the Humane Trapping Standards Regulations 2019 .

The main effect of this will be amending sections the relevant legislation and the introduction of a new Schedule 6ZA (containing relevant AIHTS species) in the Wildlife and Countryside Act (WCA) and relevant Northern Ireland legislation.

The current Schedule 6 in the WCA and this proposed new schedule prohibits the taking of animals listed within these schedules by certain methods. Licences for control using these otherwise prohibited methods would be issued and, in the case of stoats, this would be in the form of a General Licence similar to those issued for ‘pest’ bird species and will tie in to the approved traps listed on the STAOs. The introduction of this legislation is planned for March 2019 but should have no immediate consequences ahead of 1 April 2020.

Until now, it has been relatively easy for a trap user to understand which traps are approved and for what species and circumstances simply by looking at the STAOs. However, the addition of a separate General Licence adds complexity and the draft English STAO does not reference this.

BASC, along with other organisations, is urging Defra and devolved administrations to work with the Technical Working Group to produce Government-backed advice similar to relevant snaring Codes of Practice to provide clear advice and guidance to trap users.

For further information contact the game and gundog team on 01244 573 019 or by email.

Spring Traps

(This table is not a definitive list of the species which may be caught in each trap.)

TRAPSPECIESENGLANDSCOTLANDWALESNI
BMI Magnum 55Grey squirrels, rats and mice.YesYesYesYes
BMI Magnum 110Grey squirrels, stoats*, weasels,
rats and mice.
YesYesYesYes

(except Weasels)

BMI Magnum 116Grey squirrels, stoats*, weasels,
rats and mice.
YesYesYesYes

(except Weasels)

DOC150
single-entry (=closed end)
Grey squirrels, rats, stoats and weasels.YesYesYesYes

(except Weasels)

DOC 150
run-through
Rats, stoats and weasels.YesYesYesYes

(except Weasels)

DOC200
single-entry (=closed end)
Grey squirrels, mink, rats, stoats
and weasels.
YesYesYesYes

(except Weasels)

DOC200
run-through
Rats, stoats and weasels.YesYesYesYes

(except Weasels)

DOC250
single-entry (=closed end)
Grey squirrels, mink, rabbits, stoats,
weasels and rats.
YesYes
(Except
rabbits)
YesYes

(except Weasels)

DOC250
run-through
Rats, stoats and weasels.YesYesYesYes

(except Weasels)

Duke 116Grey squirrelsYesYesYesYes
Fenn Rabbit Trap Mk IRabbitsYesYesYesYes
Fenn Vermin Trap Mk IV (Heavy Duty)Grey squirrels, Stoats*, weasels,
rats and mice.
YesYesYesYes

(except Weasels)

Fenn Vermin Trap Mk VI (Dual Purpose)Grey squirrels, mink, rabbits, stoats*,
weasels, rats and mice.
YesYesYesYes

(except Weasels)

Fuller Trap
Within the housing provided by manufacturer
Grey squirrelsYesYesYesYes
Goodnature A18 Grey Squirrel TrapGrey squirrels and ratsYesYesYesYes
Goodnature A18 Mink TrapMinkYesYesYesYes
Goodnature A24 ProRats and miceYesYesYesYes
Goodnature A24 Rat and Stoat TrapStoats, rats, weasels and miceYesYesYes

Yes

(except Weasels)

Kania Trap 2000
single-entry (=closed end)
Grey squirrels, mink, weasels, stoat*,
edible dormice, rats and mice
YesYesYesYes
(Except edible
dormice & Weasels)
Kania Trap 2500Grey squirrels, mink, rabbits, weasels,
edible dormice, rats, mice and stoats*
YesYesYesYes
(Except edible
dormice & Weasels)
KORO Large Rodent Double
Coil Spring Snap Trap
single-entry (=closed end)
Grey squirrels and ratsYesYesYesYes
KORO Rodent Snap Trap
single-entry (=closed end)
Rats and weaselsYesYesYes

Yes

(except Weasels)
Nooski
single-entry (=closed end)
RatsYesYesYesYes
Nooski Mouse Trap
single-entry (=closed end)
MiceYesYesYesYes
Procull Trap
Single-entry (=closed end)
Grey squirrelsYesYesYesYes
Skinns Superior Squirrel TrapGrey squirrelsYesYesYesYes
Solway Spring Trap Mk 4Grey squirrels, weasels, edible dormice,
rats, mice and stoats*
YesYesYesYes
(Except edible
dormice & Weasels)
Solway Spring Trap Mk 6Grey squirrels, mink, rabbits, weasels,
edible dormice, rats, mice and stoats*
YesYesYesYes
(Except edible
dormice & Weasels)
Springer No 4 Multi-purpose
(Heavy Duty)
Grey squirrels, weasels, rats, mice,
edible dormice and stoats*
YesYesYesYes
(Except edible
dormice & Weasels)
Springer No 6 Multi-purposeGrey squirrels, mink, rabbits, weasels,
rats, mice, edible dormice and stoats*
YesYesYesYes
(Except edible
dormice & Weasels)
Tully TrapStoats, weasels and ratsYesYesYesYes
(Except Weasels)
VS squirrel trap
single-entry (=closed end)
Grey squirrelsYesYesYesYes
WCS Tube Trap International Run-throughGrey squirrels, mink, weasels, rats
and stoats*
YesYesYesYes
(Except Weasels)
WiseTrap 110
single-entry (=closed end) **
RatsYesYesYesYes
Wise Trap 160
single-entry (=closed end)**
RatsYesYesYesYes
Wise Trap 200
single-entry (=closed end)**
RatsYesYesYesYes

* Under the UK implementation of AIHTS, as of April 1 2020 these traps will no longer be approved for killing Stoats

** This trap must be set in a sewer, drain pipe or similar structure.

Below is a list of traps that are no longer legal:

  • Juby
  • Imbra
  • Lloyd
  • Fenn vermin mark III

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