For centuries man and mole have been in conflict. Traditionally, molecatchers, armed with their own hand-made traps, were employed by landowners to rid them of the little gentlemen in black velvet.
Molecatchers were often eccentric characters, moving from one farm to another in pursuit of their quarry. These characters didnt write down their wisdom and experience; it was passed down by word of mouth from generation to generation. Modern technology allows molecatchers to pass on their skills online, and often, for money.
In the old days, the potential suffering of the mole in traps was naturally minimised as it was in the molecatchers interest to inspect traps regularly, get their moles and their payment, and move their traps on to new locations. However, the rise of new methods of mole control poison and gas compounds - in the 1800s, caused a divide in the molecatching community. These new methods required little experience or skill to use, and did not require further attendance to inspect traps. These methods produced no evidence to show that moles were caught, which sometimes led to arguments over payment to the molecatcher. When these products became licence-only and very restricted, numbers of traditional mole-catchers began to rise again. A further rise occurred in 2006, when the use of poison was banned.
Todays methods are essentially similar to the old ways, now that the use of poison and gas to kill moles has been severely restricted. Molecatchers in todays world have a moral and legal obligation to reduce suffering to the mole, and to prevent suffering to other species when trapping, as far as is possible. Neglect, abuse and greed must be replaced with respect and honesty towards these rarely-seen creatures. This requires a commitment to professionalism on the part of the molecatcher, and respect for such commitment on the part of the landowner wishing to be rid of moles.