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Legality & Good Practice

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The Remoti System enables the remote monitoring of animal traps. We regularly get asked questions regarding the legality of the system based on the so called “twenty four hour rule”. The following has been created after consultation with DEFRA and the recommended good practice guidelines contained within are in-line with the Danish Ministry of Environment recommendations on the use of electronic trap monitoring devices.

To be clear :

  • There is currently no legal precedent (i.e There has not been a test case) in UK law for the use of electronic trap monitoring devices. The use of such devices is at the landowners' discretion.
  • It is ILLEGAL to use the Remoti System in the replacement of a visual 24h check in the case of rabbit, hare and snare traps
The legal rules on trapping are based on three pieces of legislation:

1. 1911 Protection of Animals Act, Section 10

"...any spring trap for the purpose of catching any hare or rabbit, or which is so placed as to be likely to catch any hare or rabbit, shall inspect, or cause some competent person to inspect, the trap at reasonable intervals of time and at least once every day between sunrise and sunset"

What does this mean? : The Remoti System cannot be used as a replacement for a human observation in the trapping of rabbits and hares. The system may be used alongside human observation to improve animal welfare.

2. Wildlife & Countryside Act, Section 11, Paragraph 3

"Any person who sets a snare in position or who knowingly causes or permits a snare to be so set must, while it remains in position, inspect it or cause it to be inspected at least once every day at intervals of no more than 24 hours."

What does this mean? : The Remoti System cannot be used as a replacement for human observation when using snares. The system may be used alongside human observation to improve animal welfare.

3. 2006 Animal Welfare Act, Section 4

“(1)A person commits an offence if— (a)an act of his, or a failure of his to act, causes an animal to suffer, (b)he knew, or ought reasonably to have known, that the act, or failure to act, would have that effect or be likely to do so, (c)the animal is a protected animal, and (d)the suffering is unnecessary.”
What does this mean? The key term here is the “causing an animal to suffer” and hence industry recommended guidance is to inspect a trap every 24 hours. While a visual inspection is not a legal requirement (unless a snare or a rabbit or hare trap), it has been judged that a 24h check will meet the requirements of the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

If the use of an electronic trap monitoring device could be expected to result in the unnecessary suffering of an animal, it would be illegal to use such a product.

However the correct use and function of the Remoti System should in-fact reduce the possibility of unnecessary suffering. We strongly recommend the following in this regard:
  • Upon being notified of a trap activation, physically inspect the trap in a reasonable time, with a maximum of 12 hours delay.
  • Automated unit 'reporting in' should be set to 12 hours (this is done by default). Upon receiving a trap error notification, ensure to physically inspect the trap within 12 hours.
  • The use of the Remoti system does not negate the need for trap inspection as traps should be maintained as part of good trap management practice.
  • Ensure all traps are fully compliant with current legal requirements and adhere to industry best practice.
  • It is reccomended that a physical inspection of the trap occures at least once a day for the first three days in order to ensure that the device is active and functioning properly.
  • Does DEFRA take a position?

    We have been in consultation with DEFRA regarding the use of the Remoti System. However DEFRA is keen to stress that: “We can only set out the legislative framework which applies. It is not for us to give legal advice on interpretation of legislation.”
    Are there any precedents in international law?

    Yes. The Danish Ministry of Environment has made a specific mention of automatic trap monitoring in the “Order on Game” legislation

    CS. 4.Inspection morning and evening, see. Paragraph.1 pt. 2 may be replaced by an electronic communication device (eg. Sms sender) that notifies as soon as the trap is triggered. From the message is sent, there is a maximum go 12 hours before the trap inspected physically. The communication unit must carry an electronic trap supervision morning and evening, so as to ensure that the communications unit works as intended and the trap is triggered (status message). If a status message fails to appear or report a bug, there is a maximum go 12 hours before the trap inspected physically. When setting up a trap with electronic communication device, the trap inspected physically at least once a day for the first three days in order to ensure that the communication device is active and functioning properly.

    Lacking any specific mention of electronic trap monitors in UK law, the recommendations contained within this fact-sheet are in line with the guidance issued by Denmark.
    Will British law make specific provision for automatic trap monitoring systems?

    At the present time we are unaware of any moves to update the legislation in line with modern approaches to wildlife management. However, as usage of such devices becomes more prevalent this situation may change.
    Are there examples of remote monitoring being used by a UK Government agency?

    Yes. Scottish Natural Heritage used remote trap monitors extensively during the Hebridean mink project