101 U.S. airports agree: the reasons for banning glue traps are compelling

Opposition to glue traps has grown fast in the U.S. over the last year. In March, PETA announced more than 100 airports had committed to ridding their properties of the devices. In this article, Sara Britt, from PETA, discusses how the case for banning glue traps hit home in the American aviation sector.

Over the past year, the group that I work for, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)—the world’s largest animal rights organisation, known for its provocative and flashy campaigns—has been quietly undertaking one of its lowest profile but most successful campaigns ever: asking airports to ban glue traps.

One by one, airport managers and directors have responded to my letters and calls to let me know that they agree with PETA’s position and would do away with these vile devices. To date, 101 U.S. airports have banned them.

How can glue traps be that bad? After all, they’re just pieces of cardboard coated with an adhesive.

Look again, and you’ll see that a prolonged, excruciating death is integral to the design making them one of the cruelest methods on the market for killing rodents

As mice and rats become ensnared in the traps and try frantically to escape, patches of fur and skin are ripped from their bodies—many are so desperate that they gnaw off their own limbs. Can you imagine their suffering? Now imagine it lasting for days. Animals whose faces get stuck in the glue slowly suffocate. It may be hours before they die.

Uncertain about what to do with these sentient beings, consumers typically follow the package directions and throw the animals in the trash along with the traps. They’re left to suffer, often for days, as they’re crushed by piles of garbage, until they asphyxiate, starve or die of dehydration.

Having seen glue traps at the airports where they work or pass through, a growing number of employees and travellers across the country are making it clear that they’ve seen enough. Disturbed by such cruelty, they contacted PETA, and in response to their concerns, we reached out to the airports.

Boston Logan International Airport and Dallas Fort Worth International Airport led the way years ago, but since our campaign began just over a year ago, airports from Miami to Honolulu have signed on. In March, Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport became the 101st to do so.

Their compassionate decision isn’t just good news for mice and rats—it also spares other small animals immeasurable suffering and an agonising death.

Glue traps are indiscriminate: Last month, a beautiful Western scrub jay became stuck to one and was rescued only after a boy found the bird in a trash can. And last year, a number of Canadian retailers pulled the devices from their shelves after an Ontario woman found seven dead chickadees stuck to one that she’d purchased.

When you have a minute, do a Google image search for “glue traps.” A thousand words can’t begin to describe the pain depicted in those photographs.

There’s no question that banning glue traps is the compassionate thing to do—and because they’re ineffective at solving the problem they’re used for, eliminating them is a forward-thinking decision for airports as well. Once animals are killed or removed, more food becomes available to those who remain. As a result, breeding increases—among surviving mice and rats and among newcomers—and so do populations, creating an endless killing cycle and further frustrating employees and travellers.

The only long-term solution is humane control, and that means making your facilities unattractive to tiny animals. There are a number of options, such as using high-frequency sound-emitting devices, sealing access points, keeping restaurants and kitchens clean and putting garbage into tightly covered, chew-proof containers.

Glue traps aren’t cost-effective, either—they can’t be reused, and the glue becomes inert after a few weeks—so finding a budget-friendly alternative will also help your bottom line.

Besides saving money and letting employees and travellers know 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 by the face or legs and feeling desperate to break free. Rats and mice in this situation are terrified, and when they’re scared, they often urinate and defecate. When the traps are handled, the germs in the animals’ waste increase our risk of exposure to diseases. That’s why the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cautions against using glue traps.

I hope you’ll agree that of all the compelling reasons for a ban on these devices, none is more pressing than preventing animals from enduring the unfathomable suffering and agonising deaths that are glue traps’ stock-in-trade.

If you haven’t already, please consider banning glue traps from your airport—and let PETA know. We have more than 6.5 million members and supporters around the world, many of whom check our lists of compassionate companies regularly.

7 responses to “101 U.S. airports agree: the reasons for banning glue traps are compelling”

  1. Craig Shapiro says:

    I couldn’t agree more: glue traps are horrible. I’m glad to see that more airports agree and have banned them. That kindness figures in my choices when I fly,

  2. Lucy Post says:

    Mice and rats may be small, but they suffer and feel pain and fear just as our beloved cats and dogs do. There is no excuse for using torture devices like glue traps. I applaud the many airports that have banned these cruel traps and hope many others follow suit.

  3. Iryna Kustovska says:

    You’ve raised the important issue! Aviation sector has so many unnoticeable stakeholders we should consider every time.

  4. KimMarie says:

    Glue traps cause animals to die slow, painful deaths, which is immoral and inhumane. That’s why they should be relegated to the past where they belong.

  5. Allison Cares says:

    Glue traps should 100% be outlawed. They are cruel and force the animal to suffer a long, slow death. There are better, humane ways of dealing with this issue in airports (and everywhere).

  6. Heather says:

    I got to know a rat last year—he snuck into my kitchen and enjoyed bananas, which I eventually put in a live trap to get him used to it. After I had my home rodent-proofed, so that mice and rats could no longer wriggle through tiny holes, I set the trap and caught him when he was helping himself to a pear. He was cute and he was understandably terrified. I covered the trap with a towel to calm him down until I could release him in a woodsy area. He scurried off and while I can’t say I miss him, I know there was no need for me to resort to cruel glue traps, snap traps, or poisons—or even to stand on a chair a shriek.

  7. Eric Mills says:

    NO animal should have to endure such a horrible death. And it’s not just rats and mice, folks. These brutal devices are indiscriminate, and many other animals are also victimized, including pets and wildlife such as chipmunks, voles, snakes, lizards, songbirds, even owls.

    Glue traps should be outlawed nationwide, and legislation is in order in every state to attain this goal. Let your representatives hear from you! (If in doubt as to who your reps are, see the “Government” pages in the front of your telephone book.) In the interim, some letters to the editor would be helpful.

    Eric Mills, coordinator

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