Traps and devices: animal welfare and pest management

New Zealand restricts the sale and use of traps under the Animal Welfare Act 1999. Find out about traps and the regulations.

Concerns about traps and devices

Traps and devices catch animals for pest management and hunting. There are animal welfare concerns about the use of some traps and devices.

The Animal Welfare Act 1999 restricts the sale and use of leg-hold (gin) traps and glueboard traps for trapping animals.

The Act requires capture traps to be checked each day. It also has requirements for how trapped animals are treated or killed.

Penalties for breaches

It's an offence to sell or use a restricted trap in contravention of the regulations. Breaches are punishable by up to 12 months imprisonment, and a fine of up to $50,000 for an individual or $250,000 for a body corporate.

You must inspect live-capture traps every day. Remote monitoring of live-capture traps (with a web cam) is allowed.

Read our remote monitoring of live-capture traps guidance [PDF, 96 KB]

You must remove a trapped animal from a live-capture trap and treat it according to the Animal Welfare Act. Breaches are punishable by a fine of up to $5,000 for an individual or $25,000 for a body corporate.

Snares

There are concerns about the humaneness of snares.

The National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (NAWAC) has recommended restrictions to minimise the animal welfare risks associated with snares. NAWAC has recommended that the sale and use of snares is regulated.

Read NAWAC's proposals [Document link here]

Drowning traps

Rodent traps which use a preserving solution (such as Ekofix in the Ekomille trap system) may have been sold in New Zealand. The solution is not registered as a vertebrate toxic agent in New Zealand so it must not be used.

Learn more about vertebrate toxic agents

Don't use these traps with water – drowning is a prosecutable offence under the Animal Welfare Act. If the traps are used dry they are a live-capture trap, and you must inspect them every day.

Leg-hold trap restrictions

Leg-hold traps (sometimes called gin traps) have metal jaws designed to catch and hold an animal by a limb, usually the leg or foot.

The main animal welfare concerns are:

  • injury and distress to the trapped animal
  • unnecessary suffering if it's held in the trap too long
  • potential for suffering if an injured animal escapes.

Leg-hold traps cannot be used within 150m of a dwelling without the permission of the occupier. They cannot be used in any area where there the traps is likely to catching a pet.

The sale and use of leg-hold traps are restricted by trap size and type. They normally have a size stamped on the foot plate.

Longspring traps

Only size 1 longspring traps may be sold or used. Longspring traps larger than size 1 are prohibited.

Double-coil traps

Only size 1 and size 1-and-a-half double-coil traps may be sold or used. Double-coil traps larger than size 1-and-a-half are prohibited.

Size 1-and-a-half double-coil traps must be padded. They must be manufactured with padding on the jaws – they cannot be modified to make them padded.

Approval for sale and use

If it is in the public interest and there is no viable alternative, the Minister can approve the sale or use of a trap or device that's normally restricted. Complete the form below to apply for this exemption for a leg-hold trap.

Application for exemption to sell or use a prohibited leg-hold trap [PDF, 214 KB]

Find out more

How to measure leg-hold traps – Fact sheet [PDF, 310 KB]

Animal Welfare (Leg-hold Traps) Order 2007 – NZ Legislation


Glueboard trap regulations

Selling or using glueboard traps to catch rodents is prohibited in New Zealand. The sale and use of glueboard traps to catch insects is not prohibited.

Glueboard traps have a base with a sticky glue layer to catch and hold animals. The main animal welfare concerns are injury and distress to the trapped animal, and the potential for inhumane disposal.

Approval for sale and use

If it is in the public interest and there is no viable alternative, the Minister can approve the sale or use of a trap or device that's normally restricted. Complete the form below to apply for this exemption for a glueboard trap.

Application for exemption to sell or use a glueboard trap [PDF, 33 KB]

Find out more

Review of Rodent Monitoring and Control Methods as Alternatives to Glueboard Traps [PDF, 684 KB]

Animal Welfare (Glueboard Traps) Order 2009 – NZ Legislation

Update on glueboard trap approvals

Regulations were issued in 2009 under the Animal Welfare Act 1999 to restrict the sale and use of glueboard traps for rodents.

The regulations prohibit the sale and use of glueboards for rodents from 1 January 2015, except under Ministerial approval.

Approvals issued

A small number of approvals for use have been issued since 2015. These are for limited circumstances, for:

  • biosecurity and conservation purposes
  • use in and around food storage and processing facilities
  • specialist applications where high hygiene is required.

The table shows the number of approval issued by year. The 2020 figures are as at 28 January 2020.

Year Approvals for use Approvals for sale
2020 2 2
2019 4 2
2018 6 2
2017 7 2
2016 9 2
2015 22 2

Approvals expire 30 November 2020 unless otherwise stated in the conditions of approval.


Application assessments

Applications for approval are assessed according to whether the sale or use is in the public interest, and whether there are viable alternatives. This includes:

  • a consideration of the biosecurity, conservation, public health, animal health, or other purpose the glueboard traps are to be used for
  • the consequences if glueboard traps are not used
  • whether the applicant must use glueboard traps to meet a particular statutory or other standard imposed by a client in New Zealand or overseas.

The assessment looks at whether other options would achieve the same outcomes. A working group is supporting the development and testing of alternatives, and education to support their use.

Approvals subject to conditons

Approvals include:

  • restrictions on who may use traps
  • restrictions on where traps can be used
  • conditions to prevent the capture of non-target animals
  • conditions to kill trapped rodents, and ensure they are dead before disposal
  • training requirements
  • requirements for daily checking of traps
  • requirements for reporting the number of traps set and number of animals caught.

Who to contact

If you have questions for MPI about traps and devices, email animalwelfare@mpi.govt.nz

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