A Sticky Situation; A lot of the work done by the SPCA's, are things that the public are scarcely aware of. We receive complaints daily, complaints that you might think are so bizarre that it would just be filed in file 13 and forgotten about. But I assure you this is not the case. Yes, we receive bizarre complaints and yes, some are really out of this world. But each complaint is checked for validity and investigated.
Over the years our National office (NSPCA) has dealt with the big wholesalers and a lot of animal related products have been classified as cruel and dangerous and pulled of the shelves due to much public pressure. This works well on a National basis, but what about the little guy, the man with his corner Tearoom, the Spaza shop, the little Chinese Novelty shop? They are affiliated to no one, have no central distribution center and normally are responsible for their own survival.
Which brings me to the reason for writing this. We (Empangeni SPCA) received a complaint about the sale of Sticky Rat Traps or Glue traps as the are also called, being sold at a Chinese shop in Empangeni. The use of these Rat traps are classified as cruel and inhumane and I will explain why. But first we need to cover the technicalities of the sale of the product. As the owner of the shop's intent is to make a fast buck and there is no intent to capture an animal (And yes, a rat is classified as an animal) he is not breaking any laws. You, the consumer, unknowingly and unwittingly buying the product, taking it home and using it to capture the problem rat/mouse. You of course follow the instructions on the box, which says to: Place the glue board wide open and when the animal has stuck to it, fold the glue board together and dispose of it!!! Dispose of the live animal means that you are the one who now ends up committing the act of cruelty.
I went and spoke to the owner of the shop to explain the problems surrounding these traps and tried to get him to remove them from the shelves. He maintains that they are not cruel and I insist that they are, so now what? A Mexican stand off? Just forget about it? Never.
I convince him to give me one to test. Now seeing as I am trying to prove cruelty, an animal test is out of the question. So this is the solution. I convince our Vice Chair, Mrs. Cheryl Whittaker to help with a little experiment. I will test this product on myself and she must just take as many photos as possible. At this point I would add... Bad Idea!
So, we read the instructions, the set up sounds easy enough, But no, it is not as easy as it looks. Morally anyway. I got stuck on the last part of the instructions, “how to dispose of rat once caught.” If I read it right, and I am sure I did, you take this live animal and fold him closed in the sticky paper and simply discard it into the dustbin? So, according to the manufacturer and the Chinese store owner, it is not cruel to leave an animal to suffocate or worse, starve to death? At what point can this be classed as humane? But I put that aside for the time being and carried on with my experiment. Set up complete, now for something to catch. Something furry, need to see what the effect is on hair. Aha, my forearm, that will work. At that point I swear I could see Cheryl giggling. But test we must so here goes. Place forearm gently on glue, let it settle for 10 seconds and presto. All hell breaks loose or in this case stuck. My arm is stuck, literally unmovable. I remember saying something in the line of maybe if I pull hard. At which point I did. No way, not a tiekie. I was attached to this board as if it was nailed to my arm. It took every ounce of strength to pull free, with half the glue stuck to my arm and half my arm still on the trap. That was what it felt like anyway.
It took about an hour and a liter of turpentine to remove all the glue. Any animal that gets into this stuff does not stand a chance. It is not specie specific and the list of animals that we as SPCAs have found in these horrible things include kittens, pups, snakes, frogs, geckos, shrews and bats. I would really describe it as the most inhumane type of trap up to date.
Environmentally friendly… never, unless cruelty is environmentally friendly? Green…. Not a chance. Safe for humans…. Not unless you are planning to look like a Mexican hairless in the near future. Cruel and inhumane…. DEFINITELY.
This is what the Glue Board looks like: Please boycott these things and tell the shop owners that you want them removed from the shelves.
This is after leaning on the glue board and pulling away with full strength