Confinement traps

The use of traps is regulated under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Regulations 2019.

These regulations specify:

  • the types of traps that can be used
  • the conditions of use
  • where they can be used.

If you are intending to use traps you must ensure you are meeting the legal requirements. This is a summary of the regulatory requirements for confinement traps.

Features and specifications of a confinement trap

A confinement trap is any trap that confines the whole body of one or more animals in a:

  • cage
  • bag
  • yard
  • container.

A confinement trap can only be used if it is designed in such a way that it will not cause unreasonable pain and suffering to a trapped animal. The trap must not grip any part of the animal's body and must not contain hooks or protruding parts that may injure an animal.

Where confinement traps can be used

A confinement trap can only be used if the land owner or occupier of the land or, in the case of Crown land, the manager of the land, has given their consent.

Conditions of using confinement traps

The trap must be used so as to minimise any harm caused to a trapped animal and to minimise the risk of catching non-target species.

Checking confinement traps

If an animal is trapped in an enclosure or yard in a non-urban area (feral pigs) where sufficient, food, water and shelter is provided to the trapped animal, the animal must not be left trapped for more than 48 hours.

In all other cases, the animal must not be left trapped for more than 24 hours.

Conditions of releasing or disposing of animals trapped by confinement traps

It is recommended that removal of animals is done by a person experienced in handling the target species or under the supervision of such a person.

Trapped target animals

If the trapped animal is a declared pest animal it must be humanely destroyed as soon as is reasonably possible (unless the person who owns it is authorised to own it under the Catchment and Land Protection Act 1994 and the animal can be returned to its owner).

'Humanely destroy' means causing the death of an animal by a means that results in immediate loss of consciousness and then death of the animal (without recovering consciousness).

Trapped non-target animals

Any non-target animals that are trapped, if injured, must be taken to a vet for treatment as soon as possible, or if severely injured, may be humanely destroyed.

Uninjured non-target wildlife should be released promptly. Any other uninjured non-target animal must be taken to an animal shelter or other appropriate animal care facility. If the animal is uninjured and is a dog or cat, it must be taken to the local council.

Penalties for illegal use of confinement traps

The maximum penalties for illegal sale and use of traps are:

  • 240 penalty units or imprisonment for two years — in the case of a natural person
  • 1200 penalty units — in the case of a body corporate

Further information

Confinement traps are regulated under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Regulations 2019, which can be accessed through the Prevention of cruelty to animals legislation page.

For more information about confinement traps and Ministerial approvals call our customer service centre on 136 186 or read more about animal welfare.

Page last updated: 12 Feb 2024