Scientific assessment of the impacts of trapping on mammal welfare is necessary to inform cost-benefit analyses of using traps in wildlife management, improve trap performance and trapping processes and develop international trap standards. The Sharp and Saunders humaneness assessment model was developed specifically for assessing welfare impacts in vertebrate wildlife management and has been used to assess the impacts of trapping various mammals. It is a specific version of the more general Five Domains model for welfare assessment which is based on the understanding that welfare state reflects the sum of the animal’s mental experiences. Our experience of applying the Sharp and Saunders model allows us to make key recommendations for those wishing to use it. First, the exact parameters of the trapping scenario to be assessed must be decided. Second, assessments should be based on published data, as well as integrating both scientific and practitioner expertise to provide rigorous and relevant outcomes. Third, conclusions about welfare impacts should be based on the appropriate indicators. As far as is possible, mental experiences should be inferred using animal-based indicators, and some representation should be provided of the scorers’ confidence in the data on which assessment is based. Careful consideration of these points will help optimize the value of information produced using the model for wildlife management decision-making.
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