Below is typical of the emails we receive from supporters of Larsen traps:

At 63 yrs old having spent a lot of my younger years helping my grandad, who was a shepherd, with sickly Blackface lambs,only to see them, with their eyes pecked out and their mother bleating so pitifully (it would well up so.. it in your heart) that was MERCY l to finish the agony of the blind new-born lambs on the spot.
A Curse the all those that oppose the use of LARSEN TRAPS in the UK.
By the way I an NOT a f…. stupid intellectual TOWNIE but have been working as a full-time Professional Beekeeper on the land for the last thirty five years .

(Name Removed) of Bristol
(deleted self-promotion)
Or better try http://www.naturalengland.org.uk/ourwork/regulation/wildlife/licences/default.aspx

The attitude displayed in the email speaks for itself and warrants no response. If he had taken a moment to look through this site he would have known we list Natural England Licences already plus other relevant material. Sadly nothing we say will convince people like him; not only do they hate corvids but they want to make them suffer before killing them, and Larsen and Ladder traps do just that.

For anyone open-minded, David MacDonald covers the subject in his book ‘Running with the Fox’:

Spring on my uncle’s farm in the southern uplands of Scotland was childhood bliss for me, a bliss tarnished only by queasy regrets of farmyard deaths. The worst occasion struck while Uncle Iain, Rags the collie, and I were making a circuit of the farm to fetch in Mary the milkcow. We rounded a stone dyke to find the dismal sight of a couped ewe (that is, one stuck irrecoverably on her back, trapped by the weight of her own water-logged fleece). As she withered and bleated in panic my gaze locked, in horror, on two wet, black holes in her face – hooded crows had pecked her eyes while she lay stranded. With memories of those empty sockets, my uncle’s furry, and the crack of the ensuing shot, one could hardly do other than sympathize with the sheep farmer’s loathing of predators.

But are the culprits as guilty as they appear? In the case of the hooded crows, appearances have turned out to be deceptive. In a survey in 1962 shepherds in Argyll estimated that crow attack cost them £60,000 annually. When biologist David Houston began a study of the problem he found that lamb mortality there was indeed high at 15-20%. Furthermore, 48% of lambs found dead showed signs of damage by crows. Yet post mortem examinations showed that four out of five of those mutilated lambs had actually been pecked after death, and that three-quarters of those few that had been pecked while alive had already been in the terminal stages of starvation. In fact, the birds had actually been responsible for the deaths of only 1.4% of the lambs which at first impression one might have thought they had killed! Houston’s study showed in Argyll circumstantial evidence led farmers to jump to the wrong conclusion: the reality was that with existing shepherding practice, of 1,700 lambs born in the study area, two more might have survived had it not been for the crows! Even the attacks on coupled ewes were not all they seemed: because rumen gases cannot escape when a sheep is on its back, coupled sheep will suffocate within about 12 hours if not righted. Therefore, those not rescued quickly are doomed whether or not crows attack them. — David MacDonald

Additional Information:

The overwhelming majority of Larsen traps and Ladder traps are set by gamekeepers not farmers.

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