People who don't want animals to suffer — including an increasing number of airport employees and travelers across the country — don't want glue traps to be used in airports.
They're right to feel this way.
The traps — small boards that are covered with a sticky adhesive intended to trap the mice and rats who walk on them — look innocuous, but they're an extremely cruel method of killing animals.
By their very design, the traps ensure a slow, painful death for animals. As they become ensnared in the glue and struggle to escape, patches of fur and skin are torn from their bodies — many become so desperate that they chew off their own limbs. This unimaginable suffering can last for days. Others slowly suffocate over a span of many hours when their faces become stuck in the glue.
Unsure of what to do with these intelligent, playful, sentient beings, consumers generally follow the directions and throw the living animals into the garbage along with the traps, leaving them to suffer until they die of asphyxiation, starvation or dehydration, all of which can take days. And it isn't just rodents who suffer. Glue traps are indiscriminate in the cruelty and trauma that they inflict.
For example, a swallow whose wings were stuck to a trap had to be euthanized recently after he was injured while trying to escape. A 4-week-old kitten, who was stuck to a trap by her mouth, almost died from hypothermia. Rescuers also freed a snake who followed a mouse onto a trap, but the mouse didn't survive.
People who care about animals are troubled by this kind of cruelty and have reached out to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) after seeing glue traps at the airports where they work or pass through.
Their complaints prompted PETA to begin a campaign asking these facilities to ban the use of glue traps. In less than a year, almost 100 airports from JFK. and LaGuardia to Dallas, Denver and Honolulu have made the compassionate decision to ban the devices.
It's a forward-thinking decision: Glue traps aren't just cruel, they're ineffective at solving the problem. Once animals are killed or removed from them, more food becomes available for those who remain. As a result, breeding increases — not only among surviving mice and rats but also among newcomers — and the population increases.
The only long-term solution is humane wildlife control, which means making the space unattractive to these tiny animals. Some methods include employing high-frequency sound-emitting devices, sealing holes and other access points, keeping restaurants and kitchens clean and putting garbage into tightly covered containers.
Because glue traps can't be reused, they also aren't cost-effective, so finding cheaper, reusable alternatives to them will also help your bottom line.
In addition to saving money and showing employees and travelers that you share their concerns, there's another important reason for adopting a humane approach to mouse and rat control: Glue traps pose a serious health risk to humans.
Imagine being stuck and desperate to break free. It terrifies rats and mice, and when they're scared, they often urinate. When the traps are handled, the germs in the animals' urine increases our risk of exposure to diseases. That's why the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cautions against using glue traps.
All the reasons for a ban are compelling, but none more so than to prevent the immeasurable suffering and prolonged, agonizing deaths that they cause animals to endure. I hope you will agree.
If you haven't already, please consider banning glue traps — and let us know so that we can add your airport to our list. Our 6.5 million members and supporters around the world check it frequently.
Sara Britt is a Corporate Liaison in the Corporate Affairs Department at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). Sara works behind the scenes with national and multinational companies, helping to move them away from selling or promoting cruel products to a more compassionate and animal-friendly future.