UFAW Workshop on Rodent Control Methods

mouseMany of the current methods of rodent control fall short of the humane ideal of bringing about effective population control, or individual culling, without causing pain, fear or other unpleasant feelings. Some methods fall considerably short of this ideal. Around the world very large numbers of rodents are subject to control methods and so the subject is one of major animal welfare importance. However, compared to many other animal welfare concerns, rodent control is a 'Cinderella' subject that has received relatively little attention (or investment). James Kirkwood organized a workshop meeting held in London in January 2006 to review this subject.

The purpose of the meeting, which was attended by scientists involved in this field, representatives of the pest control industry and policymakers, was to discuss whether any approaches to improvements can be identified and, if so, how these might be pursued. Future research priorities (potential new directions for humane rodent control - lethal or by preventing breeding, and the potential for improvements or refinements to existing methods) were considered, as was the need for best practice guidance about the use of current methods.

A number of meetings have been held subsequently and three avenues have been identified through which improvements could be pursued:

Education  

  • to raise awareness of the need to take welfare into consideration
  • to provide best practice guidance about selection of control methods from welfare and other perspectives

Regulation

  • to address an apparent need for the regulation of trap design based on assessment of humaneness
  • to explore streamlining of registration, in one country, of products registered in another

Research

  • Ways need to be developed to encourage, promote and fund research into more humane control methods – either novel approaches or refinements to existing methods

Continuing discussions include the development of best practice guidance leaflets, initially aimed at the general public, and the possibility of a research project investigating the addition of analgesics to rodenticides.