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Golden Eagle Trust removes Larsen traps from website
27 September 2011

The Golden Eagle Trust has responded positively to an ICABS appeal to remove references to Larsen traps from its website.

Following complaints, the Trust removed a page entitled "Eagle Friendly Farming" on which farmers were encouraged to shoot foxes and use cruel Larsen traps to capture birds and foxes.

In our appeal to the Trust, we highlighted the suffering caused to animals caught in Larsen traps, the RSPCA's condemnation of the traps as "inherently cruel" and the fact that foxes are not a significant threat to farmers. Also brought to their attention was the threat Larsen traps pose to protected species - according to a report in Veterinary Ireland Journal, a protected buzzard was found in one of the traps.

ICABS welcomes the Golden Eagle Trust's positive response. Thank you to everyone who responded to our action alert.

The group is continuing to appeal to farmers to stop laying poisons - now strictly illegal in Ireland. If you have any information about the use of poisons, please contact the Gardai or the National Parks and Wildlife Service immediately.

Ireland's Golden Eagle Trust encouraging destruction of foxes and birds
08 April 2011

ICABS has called on the Golden Eagle Trust to stop presenting foxes as pests and encouraging farmers to shoot them. The group has also been criticised for suggesting the use of cruel Larsen traps for capturing foxes and magpies.

On its website, the Trust perpetuates the myth that foxes pose a threat to sheep farming. In a section headed "Eagle Friendly Farming", they warn farmers that the use of poison (which has caused eagle deaths) is now illegal and that instead of poisoning foxes, farmers should shoot them instead.

They state: "We would appeal to landowners to consider the following methods...Shooting - this is the safest and best means of controlling foxes as only problem animals are killed. Local guns club may offer a fox control service to farmers."

The Trust has also been criticised for suggesting the use of Larsen Traps - cage traps that have been condemned by the RSPCA as "inherently cruel".

In an appeal to Golden Eagle project manager, Lorcan O'Toole, ICABS urged the Trust to stop encouraging the destruction of foxes and the use of cruel traps.

"The fox does not pose a major threat to agricultural interests," we stated. "Statistics from the Department of Agriculture show that all forms of predation account for a miniscule percentage of sheep deaths. It is inappropriate for the Golden Eagle Trust to magnify this, perpetuate the myth that foxes are a threat and encourage sheep farmers to engage in fox destruction. You should remember that many farmers consider the fox a friend, as it keeps down the numbers of rabbits and rodents."

"While we welcome your efforts to discourage illegal poisoning - which threatens animals, birds and humans - we find it saddening that you are encouraging the killing of our native wildlife by other methods."

"We find it ironic that a Golden Eagle group is encouraging farmers to turn to gun clubs, especially given the fact that the Golden Eagle was driven to extinction by hunting," we added.

In our submission, we drew attention to a statement from the National Parks & Wildlife Service who have said that "No matter what people think, foxes seldom kill and eat lambs."

Objecting to the Trust's suggestion that Larsen cage traps be used to kill crows and magpies, we pointed out that captured birds are brutally strangled to death. "Before being killed the birds are overcome with the fear and stress of confinement," we stated. "Some will suffer thirst, hunger and starvation while others will sustain broken beaks and cut heads from futile attempts to smash their way to freedom. When magpie and crow parents are caught, their orphaned chicks will starve to death in nests." Also criticised was the suggestion that foxes be captured in cages.

See also: The facts about sheep mortality on Irish Farms


Please join us now in our appeal to the Golden Eagle Trust to stop encouraging the destruction of Irish wildlife and the use of cruel cage traps.

This action alert has now ended. Thank you to everyone who responded.

Eagle groupís claims fly in face of the facts
Irish Examiner Newspaper
May 06, 2011

IN ITS efforts to re-introduce an extinct species, the Golden Eagle Trust is sadly advocating the killing of existing species. The trustís website discourages farmers from threatening eagles by illegally poisoning foxes and suggests that they instead shoot them.

This flies in the face of the facts which show that foxes do not actually pose a threat to sheep farming. In An Irish Beast Book, zoologist Professor James Fairley affirms that "many allegations of lamb killing are based on insufficient or even non-existent evidence." This is backed up by the National Parks & Wildlife Service who confirm that "foxes seldom kill and eat young lambs".

Also objectionable is the trustís suggestion that farmers use Larsen traps to control crows and magpies. These cage traps have been condemned as "inherently cruel" by the RSPCA and are illegal in Denmark from where they originated in the 1950s. Birds caught in Larsen traps desperately bash against the sides in futile bids for freedom. Many suffer broken beaks and cut heads before they are pulled out and strangled.

Crows and magpies may not glide as gracefully as eagles, and foxes may not move as majestically, but they are all equally deserving of life, nonetheless.

Philip Kiernan
Irish Council Against Blood Sports
Mullingar, Co Westmeath

The truth about foxes

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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