Guideline for assessing welfare performance of traps updated

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The National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (NAWAC) has revised its guideline for assessing the animal welfare performance of restraining and kill traps for vertebrate pest control. The guideline allows traps to be tested in a standardised way and encourages the continuing development of new and existing traps to improve the welfare of caught animals.

Dr Gwyneth Verkerk, the chair of NAWAC, says the guideline is now clearer on trap modification, and trap packaging and instructions for use. It also clarifies that animal ethics approval is needed for testing traps. 

“Traps can be bought cheaply in most supermarkets and general goods stores, but there is no guarantee that these traps are effective and humane,” says Dr Verkerk.  “We have to remember that these animals we call pests are sentient and capable of suffering pain and distress, so it is important that any traps used kill them quickly and humanely.”

The Animal Welfare Act 1999 does not require traps to be tested before they are sold or used. However, NAWAC encourages manufacturers and trap distributors to have their traps tested, and encourages the use of traps that have met the requirements of the guideline.

“Pest control, especially in light of New Zealand’s Predator Free 2050 goal, is of great significance to New Zealand. If we want all New Zealanders to get behind the predator free initiative, affordable, easy-to-use, effective and humane options for pest control need to be available.

“The Government gives advice on tested traps and humane pest control on its Bionet website at, so people should be able to find the information they need.”

Find out more

Bionet rules

NAWAC Guideline 09: Assessing the Welfare Performance of Restraining and kill traps [PDF, 311 KB]



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