Wednesday, 10 March 2021

HELP!! … Animals are in a sticky situation

Blog by Aaron Pardo

Our love for animals, nature and the environment are not acquired by some but instead lost by most. Remember as a child running to your parents or friends to show them a ladybird you had found, or a bumblebee feeding on nectar from a blooming plant in your garden? This love and fascination with nature is instilled in all of us, treating each discovery like a little piece of treasure. So, what happened? Our lust for power and domination on the planet has led to us to choose between economic pursuits or environmental ones instead of incorporating both in our endeavors. I hope to witness a change in our approach. A world in which all animals and humans can share this planet with mutual respect and not cause any unnecessary suffering. My mission therefore is to be there for the animals when they need us the most.

In November 2020 I was perusing through social media after a long dog walk in a local forest. I stumbled across an image of a bat posted by the RSPCA. The bat was in a very bad way, it was starved, dehydrated and had been exposed to harsh weather conditions. It later sadly passed away due to injuries it had sustained. So, what had happened? Had it been attacked? Ran over? Or even collided with something? NO! It had been caught inadvertently in a glue trap. A glue trap also known as glue boards or sticky boards are rather like the name suggests, a form of pest control that consists of either wood, cardboard or plastic coated with a non-drying adhesive. This device is indiscriminate in nature meaning many non-target species, even pets are caught out and suffer. I was shocked by this discovery not least because the animal had died in the most horrific way, but because this had happened in the UK. I decided I was going to do something about it. Initially I did my research to understand the extent to which this was happening in the UK. My discoveries appalled me. Between the years of 2015-2019 there were 243 reports made to the RSPCA referring glue traps. Astonishingly less than 27% of these cases were rodent related incidents. Around 5% of incidents involved non target mammal species including hedgehogs, squirrels, rabbits and bats. In addition, nearly 55% of incidents involved wild birds, amounting to 133 incidents. The remainder involved, snakes, cats and even dogs.

I study politics at the university of Exeter and my interest was about to pay off. I wanted to help stop this crisis and decided I would approach it through the political stream and utilize my knowledge by launching a campaign. I immediately contacted my local MP to make him aware of what was unfolding on our very own doorstep. I pleaded with him and his colleagues to do anything and everything they could to stop this mass murder of our beloved wildlife. Weeks passed by and after many meetings with local and national charities and trusts I had a response. He was willing to support my campaign to stop the use of glue traps and tabled an early day motion in parliament calling for an urgent review. In addition, he will be seeking an adjournment debate in due course. So far, this has the support of 7 MPs from the three major parties in Westminster. The Conservatives, Labour and the Scottish National Party. This demonstrates this is a cross party issue and regardless of your political views everyone can support this motion. As this motion can only obtain the support of MPs, I decided a two-pronged attack was needed. So, I launched a petition to reflect the discontent amongst the British people for these abhorrent killers. Afterall a YouGov poll conducted in 2015 for the Humane Society International discovered 68% of people wanted glue traps banned. Unfortunately, this petition was rejected on the grounds that there is currently another petition calling for the same action, so I have thrown my support behind that. I have now embarked on emailing all MPs, charities and trusts who can help support this by utilizing their platforms.

I was very privileged to hear back from the Bat Conservation Trust. They offered their full support and gave me this opportunity to write a blog on their page outlining the disgusting nature of glue traps. Bats as previously stated are significantly affected by glue traps. Most bats get themselves stuck when they detect small insects also trapped in the device. As they go to feast, they find themselves stuck. Unable to break free they have no choice but to lie there helpless with only a distress call for hope. However, the distress call is largely counterproductive as more bats will inevitably get closer to investigate also becoming victims of these tools. As we can see this vicious circle is far too common in the UK and we need to do something about it to help prevent further animals including bats from getting caught up in this abhorrent tool.

I like to think of myself as an optimist and believe the time for change is now not when. I cannot do this alone however and need your support. Unfortunately, due to strict parliamentary protocol I am unable to influence any MP other than my own to support the Early Day Motion (EDM). So instead, I am asking supporters of the Bat Conservation Trust and anyone reading this to please email their MP asking them to support EDM 1477. I have made the process incredibly easy for you by creating an email template below one can send to their MP asking them to support the EDM and sign the petition. Please feel free to copy and paste.

To whom it may concern,

I am writing to you today to ask for your support in an Early Day Motion against the use of glue traps in the UK. Glue traps also known as glue boards or sticky boards consist of either cardboard, plastic or wood with a non-drying adhesive or a shallow tray of adhesive. When animals cross the board, they become stuck by their feet. Unable to free themselves, other parts of their body then become stuck, further entrapping them. In attempting to free themselves they may rip out patches of fur, break bones and even gnaw through their own limbs to escape. If trapped and the animals are left unattended, they will die slowly from dehydration, starvation or exhaustion. I along with major charities and trusts such as the RSPCA and RSPB believe that glue traps cause unacceptable cruelty, and their indiscriminate nature means that many non- target species, even pets are caught out and suffer.

I have linked the EDM 1477 for you to support: https://edm.parliament.uk/early-day-motion/58087/glue-traps.

In addition, I urge you to sign and share this petition: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/560288.

Many thanks for your time and support."

When sending this email to your MP please ensure you include your name, address and postcode so they can verify that you live within their constituency bounds. If you are unsure of who your MP might be or want to find their contact details check this page: https://members.parliament.uk/constituencies/ As well as sending that email to your MP I ask from the bottom of my heart that everyone reading this that cares about animals as much as I do to please sign this petition: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/560288. If we gather enough signatures, we can indicate to the government that we are unhappy with the use of these tools in the UK and we want change, NOW!

As Eduardo Galeons once said “Many small people, in small places, doing small things can change the world”. I believe with your support we can change the future of animals’ fate by ending the use of these glue traps. So, we can one day say that our love for animals, nature and the environment is not acquired by all but instead lost by none.

If anybody reading this requires more information or campaigning tools please feel free to contact me via this email: aaronpardo22@gmail.com

In addition, you can follow my Instagram and twitter accounts dedicated to animal welfare:

Instagram: @animal_welfareuk

Twitter: @AnimalwelfareU

I am also working on a YouTube channel which I have linked here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCx5cuGwsEQUCVz5T3puiPLQ

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