An assessment of the relative welfare impacts of different rat control methods


AWF Research Fund



Research Period


Area of study



Investigator(s): Dr Sandra Baker

Millions of rats (Rattus norvegicus) are killed globally each year in an effort to protect human health, food supplies and property. Methods include rodenticides, glue traps, spring traps and live-trapping followed by killing. All will impact welfare but concerns are associated particularly with anti-coagulant rodenticides, glue traps and unregulated break-back traps. It is increasingly recognized that humans should mitigate wherever possible any impacts that they have on animal welfare. Little is known of the relative welfare impacts of rat management methods and these need to be assessed so that welfare can be accounted for, without bias, when making management decisions. This desk study will assess, in detail, the relative welfare impacts of key rat management methods used in the UK. The project tackles the AWF priority welfare issue, ‘lethal wildlife management’, and an area of particular interest to the veterinary profession, ‘wild rodent control’.