Cherilyn Mackrory – 2021 Speech on Glue Traps

The speech made by Cherilyn Mackrory, the Conservative MP for Truro and Falmouth, in the House of Commons on 19 November 2021.

I beg to move, That the Bill be now read a Second time.

First and foremost, I pay tribute to my good and hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton North East (Jane Stevenson), who has put in a huge amount of hard work to bring this private Member’s Bill forward, and is hugely disappointed that she cannot be here today due to illness. I am sure that everybody in the Chamber will wish her the very best, and I know that she is watching proceedings as we speak. She would like to thank the team at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the House Clerks and all the animal welfare organisations that have helped her to bring the Bill to this stage.

Perhaps it would help if I started by explaining why I consider it to be crucial to ban the use of glue traps to catch rodents in all but the most exceptional circumstances. For those who do not know, these primitive traps are exactly what they sound like, and the way in which they are often used is every bit as barbaric as Members might imagine. Glue traps are cardboard or plastic boards with non-drying glue applied to them, and are set to catch rodents that walk across them. To quote the British Veterinary Association, animals caught in these traps can suffer from

“torn skin, broken limbs and hair removal and die a slow and painful death from suffocation, starvation, exhaustion and even self–mutilation.”

In modern Britain—a country that seeks to achieve the highest animal welfare standards in the world—we simply cannot allow these traps to be used in everyday life anymore. If countries such as New Zealand and Ireland can restrict these traps without any demonstrable impact on rodent control, I can see no reason why we cannot follow suit in England.

Hundreds of thousands of glue traps are sold every year in the UK, with many users unaware of how to deal with the animals that they may catch. Like many organisations, Humane Society International has worked hard to raise awareness about the harm that glue traps can cause. A survey that it conducted in 2015 unearthed some truly upsetting information.

Just 20% of the people surveyed would recommend killing a trapped animal using the method advised by the professional pest control industry—a manner that is regarded as humane by experts. Some 15% said that they would recommend drowning an animal, throwing it away alive or just leaving it to die in such a trap. All these are inhumane and could be considered an offence under the Animal Welfare Act 2006. More than two thirds, or 68%, of respondents agreed that glue traps should be banned.

People who have used glue traps have shared their experiences online and say things such as:

“Please don’t use glue traps. I naively didn’t think what they would entail when our next door neighbour had a rat and when we put a glue trap a small mouse got caught and I cried for hours because it was so horrific. It was dying slowly and all its limbs were broken. I gave it some water and food and my husband had to end its life because it was obviously in so much pain.”

Julie Marson (Hertford and Stortford) (Con)

My hon. Friend is outlining the reasoning behind the Bill and the horrific deaths that these poor creatures can endure. Will she explain why the Bill refers only to rodents and not some of the other small wild animals that can be affected and hurt dreadfully?

Cherilyn Mackrory

Glue traps are generally bought to be put down for rodents, so we can legislate for that. They are often used to catch other animals—and other animals can be caught unintentionally—but they are not necessarily put down for that purpose. Legislation is already in place—I cannot quite remember, because it is not my Bill, but it is either the Animal Welfare Act 2006 or the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981—to protect wild birds, but the Bill will go one step further to protect all animals, not just rodents, albeit that we can only really legislate for that.

Sir Christopher Chope (Christchurch) (Con)

A housing estate in my constituency has plagues of rats—so much so that I have seen them going round on the fencing and into people’s houses where their young children are trying to play. What is my hon. Friend’s view about rats?

Cherilyn Mackrory

Where do I start? That is a horrendous problem; once such problems get out of hand they can be extremely difficult to get under control. I hope my hon. friend will forgive me if I make some progress; perhaps he will hear how we can tackle such things later in my speech. In short, though, in all these circumstances prevention is better than cure, and alternative methods can be used to help with situations such as the one he described.

Let me return to the experiences we have read about online. Another lady said that her husband

“found three mice last winter stuck to”—

a glue trap—

“and told me never ever again to use it. He said they had started to bite their legs off to get free.”

I must make a confession. When I discovered that I had to step into the breach for my hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton North East, my mind went back to when I lived across the river in Kennington 20 years ago. We were on the third floor of an old house that had been made into flats and we had a mouse problem. I was quite squeamish—I still am, to a certain extent—so my housemate decided that he would take care of it and put down one of these glue traps. The next morning, I got up for work early—much earlier than him—and saw a mouse in the trap. It was horrible: it was twitching and had not quite died but I could not bring myself to do anything. I feel so guilty, but I am not the sort of person who could just plonk an animal on the head, so I had to wake him up and ask him to deal with it. So I have seen this with my own eyes and it is just horrible. Nobody would do this on purpose to a cat, dog or any other living creature; I do not know why we think it is acceptable for animals by which we are repulsed, such as rats or mice. We really need to do better.

The examples I have given are far from exhaustive. Glue traps also pose a risk to other animals—as mentioned, wild birds, hedgehogs and cats have all been caught on glue traps, often fatally. Those are just some of the incidents that have been reported to the RSPCA, which has seen hundreds of cases over recent years—and those are just the tip of the iceberg. Some Members may remember the harrowing story of Miles, a black and white cat who was found in an alleyway in north London last year with four glue traps stuck to him. Miles was scared, in extreme pain, and suffering with such horrific injuries that unfortunately he had to be put to sleep.

Mr Gagan Mohindra (South West Hertfordshire) (Con)

I thank my hon. Friend for filling in for my hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton North East (Jane Stevenson). How can she be sure that the proposed restrictions on the use of glue traps will not lead to problems with rodent control?

Cherilyn Mackrory

As I said earlier, many alternatives can be used. For example, similar legislation was introduced in New Zealand some time ago. The Bill would introduce a licensing scheme, to which I will refer later; in New Zealand, with its population, the number of licences and instances of use is still in single figures and we are not aware of an overwhelming rodent problem in New Zealand. The industry has moved on. It is about managing problems in a better way, similar to how pest-control professionals use chemicals and such like.

James Sunderland (Bracknell) (Con)

I commend my hon. Friend for stepping into the breach because of the absence of my hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton North East (Jane Stevenson). She makes a persuasive case about the unpalatable nature of this treatment. Does she have a view on the overall effectiveness of glue traps in the totality of pest control? Does she think that, by banning these awful things, there will be a negative effect on our ability to control rodent populations?

Cherilyn Mackrory

As I alluded to earlier, that does not seem to be the case because of the alternatives already available to the industry and the examples that we see in other countries.

What can people use instead? As always, prevention is better than cure, and effective rodent-proofing is always the best solution. However, when the problem has already been identified and got out of hand, people can consider live capture and release, which is much more humane, and lethal options such as the good old-fashioned snap traps from “Tom and Jerry” cartoons, which are designed to kill instantly. Although that might be horrific, it is a better, quicker and more humane death for the rodents. Many businesses already stock those alternative traps, and an increasing number of people are refusing to stock glue traps, already believing them to be inhumane and entirely unsuitable for amateurs.

The Bill, as we see in clause 1, would make it an offence to set a glue trap for the purpose of catching a rodent or in a manner that gives rise to a risk that a rodent could become caught in it. That would also prevent such traps being used where they pose a risk to other animals. The maximum sentence of six months in prison and/or an unlimited fine is consistent with sentences for similar trapping offences in the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

In exceptional circumstances, the use of glue traps by professional pest controllers may unfortunately still be necessary. Glue traps may capture rodents more quickly than other methods, so they could still be needed when a rapid capture is required for reasons of public health or safety, such as in the cockpit of a jumbo jet before it is due to take off or if there was a risk of a fire in a hospital. If rodents have got in and are gnawing wires where other types of traps cannot be placed and we think that public safety is at real risk, glue traps might need to be used. To cover such eventualities, clause 2 sets out the provisions for a licensing regime that will allow the Secretary of State to authorise a pest controller to use a glue trap to catch a rodent if that is needed to preserve public health or safety and—this is key—no other satisfactory solution is available. Such situations are expected to be very rare, as I mentioned in the New Zealand example. A licensing regime has the benefit of allowing strict conditions to be imposed on the use of said glue traps, such as the frequency of checking traps, to minimise any detrimental impacts on animal welfare. That is key. If such traps must be laid, a qualified pest controller would be on hand to put the poor thing out of its misery, should it get trapped.

Clause 2 would allow the Secretary of State to delegate the licensing functions to any competent public authority. That is currently expected to be Natural England, which is already responsible for administering other licences relating to wildlife. Provision is made to charge fees for licence applications to enable the recovery of costs for processing applications and monitoring for compliance.

The Bill would grant enforcement powers to police constables and, in clause 5, to authorised inspectors. Inspectors would be authorised by the Secretary of State and are expected to be employed by the licensing body. Authorised inspectors would have the powers to inspect pest control businesses authorised to use glue traps under licence to ensure that those licence conditions were being complied with.

Clause 10 would allow for the Bill’s provisions to be commenced by regulations made by the Secretary of State. The expectation is that offences in clause 1 will be commenced two years after Royal Assent. That will allow the users of glue traps ample time for any transition to other legal methods of rodent control that are already available. It will also give sufficient time to put a suitable licensing regime in place, in consultation with the pest control industry and other stakeholders. Regulations relating to the licensing regime may be commenced prior to the two years to allow the said licensing regime to be in place before the offences in clause 1 are applicable. As wildlife management is a devolved matter, the Bill applies only to England. I am aware, however, that the Welsh and Scottish Governments have indicated an interest in legislating to restrict the use of glue traps.

I thank my hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton North East (Jane Stevenson) for promoting the Bill, and she would like to thank everybody who has been involved—I will probably miss some names out, so forgive me—including Animal Aid, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the Humane Society International, the British Veterinary Association and many more, not least the Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation.

It is often said that we are a nation of animal lovers, and I believe that we are. All Members will recognise the truth of that through the correspondence that we receive from our constituents on animal welfare matters. The hon. Member for Sheffield, Hallam (Olivia Blake) and I have been on the Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill Committee this week; this issue is very emotive and we always strive to do the best that we can on a cross-party basis. We must take this opportunity, therefore, to continue to raise the bar on animal welfare in this country and ban the use of glue traps in all but the most exceptional circumstances. I urge all hon. Members to support the Bill from my hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton North East in its smooth passage through the House and on to the statute book.

Several hon. Members rose—

Madam Deputy Speaker (Dame Eleanor Laing)

Do you not wish to speak, too, Ms Marson? Oh, sorry—I call Dr Ben Spencer.

Dr Ben Spencer (Runnymede and Weybridge) (Con)

Thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker—I was worried I was in a bit of trouble there.

Madam Deputy Speaker

Even though it is a Friday, for the avoidance of doubt—as there seems to be some confusion—if hon. Members wish to speak, they should stand up; that means, “I wish to speak”. If they do not stand up, that means that they do not wish to speak and they will not be called. Let us get that absolutely straight.

Dr Spencer

Thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker.

I congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for Truro and Falmouth (Cherilyn Mackrory) on her powerful speech about glue traps and particularly on her confession about having used them. I rise to make the same confession: I have used glue traps and I deeply regret doing so. Although they look very good in terms of their effectiveness and getting rid of vermin, I had to deal with the consequences of trapping a mouse using glue traps. I had to dispatch it to put it out of its suffering when it was caught in the glue trap, and it is exactly as she said: it is a very brutal and horrid form of vermin control and it is absolutely right that we are introducing a Bill to get rid of them.

As for our personal vermin control in my household, I have a Frazzle—a ginger rescue cat who is the No. 1 enemy of vermin in my local area. If anything, Frazzle is too effective at vermin control, because every day he brings us gifts of the vermin that he has got rid of locally.

It is clear that other methods can be used that are not as cruel. An important point is that although we all recognise the very negative impact of mice and rats as carriers of disease, all the damage that they cause and the fact that we need to keep them under control, they are sentient creatures who can feel pain. They have the neurological structures in their brains that mean they can experience suffering. They are not stupid creatures and it is correct that we bring forward measures to control them in the most humane way possible. Banning glue traps is absolutely appropriate in order to drive that forward and I commend my hon. Friend for introducing the Bill today.

Several hon. Members rose—

Madam Deputy Speaker (Dame Eleanor Laing)

I call Julie Marson.

Julie Marson (Hertford and Stortford) (Con)

It is a pleasure to rise to support the Bill prepared by my hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton North East (Jane Stevenson). Her commitment to animals and their welfare is absolutely not in doubt, and I congratulate her on the Bill. I also congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for Truro and Falmouth (Cherilyn Mackrory) on introducing it so brilliantly; she did our colleague proud. I am pleased to support both colleagues.

My mother—I hope she is not watching—has an almost cartoon-like reaction to rodents of any description. She would leap on to any elevated surface—a chair or whatever—to avoid them and would be absolutely panicked. I recall from when my son was younger a film called “Ratatouille”, which was a brave attempt to rehabilitate and rebrand rats in kitchens. That did not quite wash with me, and I am sure it did not with other people.

However, as my hon. Friend the Member for Truro and Falmouth said, we are a nation of animal lovers; it sounds clichéd, but we are, and we should be proud of that aspect of our national character. I listened to her with horror. I have not seen one of these traps in action—following this debate, I hope I never will—but I certainly would not want to see animals suffering in the way that she described.

I think this all comes down to humanity. My hon. Friend the Member for Christchurch (Sir Christopher Chope) raised an important point about circumstances where rodents need to be controlled, which can be horrific for people. Clause 2 plays into that very clearly; if something is potentially so inhumane in the wrong hands, we should give it to a professional to deal with it properly in order to reduce the risk of really inhumane consequences, even though there might be circumstances in which they can be justified, while there are other options that are more appropriate in less trained hands.

That is the important distinction that the Bill makes. If something is humane, I could use it. If the general public do not have to be trained in it and do not need to mind the consequences of what they are doing, they can handle it. However, if its potential consequences, not just for rodents but for other animals—birds, small mammals and pets such as cats—are so catastrophic and upsetting, then we should leave it to a professional to use it in very prescribed and definite circumstances. That is an issue that the Bill addresses effectively.

There is no hierarchy of animals and whether they should suffer. Even those of us who eat meat—I am a meat eater—do not want animals that are slaughtered for that purpose to be treated in an inhumane way. That is the important principle in legislation and in what this Bill is trying to achieve. Let me give an example. For those of us who supported Brexit, one of its important features was that, as a nation and as a Government, we could stop cruel, long and unregulated animal exports because of the inhumanity involved. I remember seeing pictures of the carnage of 50 dead sheep at Ramsgate port a few years ago, and I remember the passions that that cruelty raised in people. As I say, there is no hierarchy of suffering for animals; where we see it, we should address it.

That is what this Government are trying to achieve; that is our direction of travel. We have put restrictions on imports from the ivory trade, on trophy hunting and on primates as pets. We have the Animal Welfare (Sentience) Bill and, in the Ministry of Justice, we have the pet theft amendments to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill. That all plays into a very welcome direction of travel, which I think most of us across the House want to see, on humanity to all creatures.

I think I have reached the end of my comments. I thank my hon. Friend the Member for Truro and Falmouth for introducing the Bill so brilliantly, and I am pleased to support it.

Olivia Blake (Sheffield, Hallam) (Lab)

I congratulate the hon. Member for Wolverhampton North East (Jane Stevenson) on the Bill, and wish her a speedy recovery. May I add that the hon. Member for Truro and Falmouth (Cherilyn Mackrory) did an excellent job in opening the debate?

Although Labour Members have some reservations about the scope of the Bill, which I shall come to later, it is definitely a big step in the right direction. The proposal to ban glue traps is backed by an overwhelming number of people and organisations, including the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the Royal Humane Society and the British Veterinary Association, and earlier this year more than 40,000 people signed a petition asking for a ban. Ending this inhumane practice also featured in Labour’s animal welfare manifesto. It is good to see that greater regulation is now supported in all parts of the House, including on the Government Front Bench.

Glue traps are clearly cruel and inhumane. I was shocked to read the report from the RSPCA that in just four years it had received 236 call-outs to animals caught in these traps, and that many suffered long drawn-out deaths owing to the horrific injuries that they sustained in trying to escape—as described by the hon. Member for Truro and Falmouth—or simply from hunger, stress, dehydration, exhaustion, or suffocation. That is not humanity in any form, and it is a horrible way for an animal to die. The traps are also indiscriminate, affecting not only rodents but all small vertebrates. Again, some of the stories are quite shocking, with kittens, hedgehogs, squirrels and even parrots and snakes becoming trapped and killed or seriously injured.

I should also point out that glue traps are not the only cruel and indiscriminate form of trap in use. We have just finished the Committee stage of the Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill, and it was disappointing to see the Government vote against a ban on the use of snares in areas where kept animals could become trapped. I hope that the consultation on snares about which we heard in Committee will bring their thinking more into line with their approach to glue traps. Labour certainly believes that snares should also be banned.

As I said at the outset, the Bill is a step forward, but there remain some issues which I hope can be resolved as it proceeds further. The first is its limited scope. I pointed out earlier that rodents are not the only animals affected by the traps, and while I take on board what was said by the hon. Member for Truro and Falmouth, we feel that the language is rather too exclusive. We hope that that can be rectified in Committee. Secondly, I know that many organisations have expressed concerns about the licensing arrangements described in the Bill. Those concerns are well founded, certainly in so far as they relate to who licences might be issued to and what kind of training those people would need to possess a licence. The Bill could be strengthened with far clearer language on both those issues.

Finally, we should revisit any training required of licence holders, given the guidance issued by the industry. Currently, the British Pest Control Association recommends that traps should be visited within 12 hours, but it seems to me that that allows plenty of time for animals to do harm to themselves as they try to escape: 12 hours is an incredibly long time for suffering to continue. It is hard to envisage a feasible, economic way of using these traps humanely without having to return to them frequently over short periods. For that reason, an outright ban seems more feasible than a licensing regime, and I do wonder why that was not considered by the Member for Wolverhampton North East. The Bill is extremely welcome as a stepping stone towards a further reduction in the use of glue traps, but a ban would be in line with the view of the Scottish Animal Welfare Commission, which has said that

“there is no way that glue traps can be used without causing animal suffering.”

The commission recommends an immediate outright ban, which is what our animal welfare manifesto calls for.

The Opposition welcome the Bill, which brings Government Members into closer alignment with our thinking on the use of traps. They are not quite there yet, either on glue traps or on other traps such as snares, but I congratulate the hon. Member for Wolverhampton North East on introducing the Bill. If it receives support today, we will wish it well through its remaining stages.

Jerome Mayhew (Broadland) (Con)

When I was preparing for this debate, my mind was drawn to the question of how long we, as a community, have been considering our responsibilities for and relationship with the animal kingdom. I thought of Genesis 1:26:

“Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.”

Genesis is traditionally attributed to Moses, who lived at roughly 1,200 BC, but modern scholarship suggests that it is slightly more modern, from about the 6th century BC. Either way, we have been considering our relationship with the animal kingdom for at least 2,500 years. During that time, public attitudes towards our relationship with animals have developed enormously, although perhaps not so much in the first 2,000 years; right hon. and hon. Members will recall that man traps with teeth were outlawed only in 1827. I wonder what the devout members of our community would have thought of the Bill if we had introduced it in 1826. As a matter of passing interest, man traps were not outlawed in their entirety until 1861, which was not actually that long ago.

I am very pleased to say that public attitudes towards animal suffering—and human suffering, for that matter—have developed over the past 150 years or so. Section 8 of the Pests Act 1954 introduced restrictions on trapping animals, including restrictions on non-approved spring traps, albeit with an exception for

“rats, mice or other small ground vermin.”

The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 included further prohibitions on cruelty to animals. It focused particularly on traps and snares, whose use was controlled but not outlawed entirely; from memory, there were exceptions for agriculture and public health. A wider, more all-encompassing approach to our relationship with animals was taken in the Animal Welfare Act 2006. As hon. Members will recall, it created a wider offence of allowing or causing unnecessary suffering to any animal—including trapped animals, of course.

The underlying factor in all that legislation was an increasing concern, reflected in the views of the public, about suffering—particularly the suffering, over time, of animals that might need to be controlled for public health or other reasons. Public attitudes have changed, so I think it is right to consider the prohibition of glue traps for vermin. They do not cause a quick death; the animal is just stuck. It is not like fly paper; these are intelligent animals, as hon. Members have said, and they are physiologically capable of suffering.

The British Veterinary Association has expressed concerns about how animals caught in glue traps die. It notes that they

“can suffer from…torn skin, broken limbs and hair removal and die a slow and painful death from suffocation, starvation, exhaustion and even self-mutilation.”

Should we really allow that kind of animal control in the society that we have the honour to represent? The RSPCA has received about 200 reports of non-target species being caught, often fatally, in just the past five years. That includes birds and hedgehogs, as well as people’s pet cats.

Glue traps are an important issue that we need to address. I welcome the action that the Bill proposes to control their use, but we have to recognise that rodents equate to a significant public health risk. In large numbers, they can breed incredibly quickly.

Members may have been amazed by television footage from Australia from about a month ago that showed an absolute explosion in numbers of, I think, mice. I am pleased to say that we do not suffer from such plagues in this country, but it highlights the need for ongoing control of rodent numbers. We need to retain an effective range of measures to control our rodent populations.

I welcome the licensing regime element of the Bill—I vary in that view from Opposition Members—because there are certain circumstances, perhaps in an operating theatre, where the public health imperative is so overwhelming that we need to accept such measures. They should be licensed, however, and operated by pest control professionals.

Although I am concerned that we retain effective and quick measures when other systems are not available, it is crucial to maintain regular monitoring and follow up by humane dispatch or killing of the rodents that are caught in glue traps, as is already addressed in the Animal Welfare Act 2006. Originally, when I read this Bill, I was concerned that there was an omission, but on reflection I think that the 2006 Act encompasses that.

I have one concern with clause 1(5), which I wonder if the Minister will consider in her response. It proposes creating an offence if a passer-by sees a glue trap and does not take effective action to remove it and make it harmless. I am deeply concerned that we are at risk of criminalising passers-by who may, or in fact are very likely, not to have any idea of the legislative status of a glue trap, particularly as it could be legal in some circumstances under the terms of the Bill.

What steps does a passer-by have to take to satisfy him or herself that the glue trap that they have seen is one that potentially exposes them to criminal liability if they do not take steps to make it harmless? That is a recipe for chaos if a pest control professional has spent time, effort and money properly laying a glue trap in legal circumstances, only for the good samaritan to throw themselves on the glue trap to prevent their own criminal responsibility. We need to perfect that area at a later stage of consideration.

With that exception, I support the Bill. It shows that we are listening to the changing attitudes of our society and are being responsive as legislators.

Sir Christopher Chope (Christchurch) (Con)

It is a pleasure to follow my hon. Friend the Member for Broadland (Jerome Mayhew). His last point was very important, and I hope it will be taken on board by the promoter of the Bill. I wish my hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton North East (Jane Stevenson) well and I hope that she is soon back in her place in this House.

In my many years of assiduously attending Fridays, I have seen some extraordinary Bill titles, but this is the first time that we have had what is essentially a rat protection Bill. It is difficult to explain to our constituents that we need to protect rats through legislation. Rats carry disease, particularly Weil’s disease which, as my hon. Friend the Member for Runnymede and Weybridge (Dr Spencer) will know, is a bacterial infection also known as leptospirosis. It is carried most commonly in rats and can be caught by humans by being in contact with rat urine or faeces. There are a significant number of cases of Weil’s disease in our country every year.

We know that rats breed incredibly rapidly, and reference was made by my hon. Friend the Member for Broadland to that. The figures are that brown rats can have 2,000 babies in a single year. It is commonplace to have 22 in a single litter. For that reason, we should take very seriously what seems to me to be growing evidence of a plague of rats across large parts of our country. In my constituency, there has been what I regard as inappropriate housing development on former forest and heath. What has happened in many respects is that the rats that were living there naturally beforehand have taken over the new area that has been built and are creating mayhem for residents.

Why are we bringing forward legislation that is effectively designed to try to make people think of rats as friends rather than enemies? They are enemies to our public health. If we are going to wait for two years before we introduce these constraints and the regulations set out in the Bill, what will be the test as to whether things have improved in that period?

Cherilyn Mackrory

I appreciate the points that my hon. Friend is making, but I want to clarify a point before he carries on down that road. The Bill is absolutely not to protect rats; I certainly would not support a Bill that protects a rat population. If there are rat populations in his area, as he suggests, perhaps the banning of glue traps will not make any difference to that, because they are not making any difference to that at the moment. There are other methods in circulation that are more effective and more cost-effective. If there is a problem such as the one that he describes, a licensed pest controller can be brought in to deal with it forthwith.