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Irish Times thanked for dropping cruel Larsen trap
24 August 2010

The Irish Council Against Blood Sports has thanked the Irish Times after a cruel bird trap was removed from its Reader Offers website. ICABS highlighted the suffering caused to magpies and other birds by the trap.

In our letter to the newspaper's editor, we pointed out that Larsen traps have been condemned as "inherently cruel" by the RSPCA and that they are now banned in Denmark, from where they originated in the 1950s.

Outlining the cruelty, we stated: "Larsen traps use a live decoy bird to lure in victims. When the birds land on the cage, a panel collapses beneath them and they fall into captivity. They will never fly again. Before being brutally killed, they experience fear and panic, jumping frantically against the bars that deny them their freedom. Some sustain broken beaks and cut heads while others suffer thirst, hunger and starvation. When parent birds are caught, their orphaned chicks will starve to death in nests."

A big thumbs up to the Irish Times for this compassionate response.

Visit our Ban cruel Larsen traps page for more information about our campaign.

The Irish Times has been thanked for dropping cruel Larsen traps from its Reader Offers website


Please join us in calling on Minister John Gormley to urgently introduce a ban on Larsen traps.

Minister John Gormley
Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government
Custom House, Dublin 1.
Email [with a copy to An Taoiseach]
Tel: 01 888 2403. Fax: 01 878 8640.

Video: Magpie caught in cruel Larsen trap

Quotes: Larsen trap cruelty

"Phil Wilson, chief superintendent of the RSPCA's prosecution department, said: 'It is the RSPCA's view that these [Larsen] traps are inherently cruel.' He added: 'There is no evidence that magpies have a significant effect on the songbird population.'" (From Larsen trapper convicted of cruelty to magpie)

"I consider the Larsen trap to be rather inhumane. I know in Denmark where the trap was developed it is banned for this reason but it is legal in the UK. I have been watching a magpie in a trap (food and water provided) for 4 days now and it appears distressed with a lot of repetitive actions." (Comment posted on a UK bird club forum)

"The wild 'decoy bird' its most vital instincts frustrated and abused by confinement, suffers a most terrible fate. Close to the ground it is terrorised by predators, and watches as its fellow birds are brutally killed in front of it. A number end up being found dead through neglect...It is also clear that the trapping is going on all through the summer months and that untold thousands of magpie chicks have starved to death in their nests due to their parents birds being trapped. " (From the website of Against Corvid Traps)

"I have found many larsen traps with dead decoy birds which appeared to have died from starvation." (From an Irish eye-witness)

"Magpies are incredibly intelligent and beautiful birds. Have you ever seen a live magpie used in a Larsen Trap. It was one of the most horrible things I have ever seen. This intelligent bird was totally demented (I let it out)." (From online discussion about Larsen traps)

"A story told by the naturalist WH Hudson more than 100 years ago has always intrigued me. A man who kept a magpie in a hutch - perhaps a precursor of the Larsen trap - observed that some small birds who daringly snatched crumbs through the bars were inevitably lunged at by the pied prisoner. All but one: a robin that appeared to have a damaged beak. For this tiny bird the magpie was seen to break up crusts and feed it!" (From Country Matters, Irish Independent, April 24 2005)

"Larsen traps [are] the most disgusting method of persecution. The Larsen trap comprises a cage with two compartments, each with a spring door. One compartment holds the terrified decoy bird; the second has its door held open by a split perch. In order to enter the trap, a magpie will invariably drop onto the perch out of curiosity, this will then give way, and the door springs shut, leaving the trapped magpie to its fate and the decoy magpie to be used over and over until it dies of stress and even starvation in some cases." [From In Defence of Magpies - a leaflet published by Bedfordshire Wildlife Rescue -]

Poster: Ban Larsen Traps in Ireland

Ban Cruel Larsen Traps in Ireland

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