Supermarket policies on fox control

Posted on the 22nd August 2017

In June 2017, there was outrage after it was revealed supermarket giant Sainsbury’s had trapped and killed a number of foxes at their Crayford store. Following pressure from Animal Aid, and a 40,000 signature petition, Sainsbury’s have now committed to only using humane methods of deterrence in future.

However, where do the other major supermarkets stand? We contacted them to find out.


“We very rarely have to call out our pest control company for reported fox activity, and nothing in the last year has warranted a control program. Generally speaking we only pursue a control program for foxes if they are causing a direct risk to food safety or human health & safety. Our first approach if foxes have been reported around our stores would always be to consider physical deterrents, particularly proofing, to discourage them from entering the site.
On the very rare occasion that we do need to employ a control programme (which is dependent upon the level of risk presented) we may use a cage trap.” – 4th July 2017.

“Following your correspondence I have spoken to a few colleagues around the business who are specialists in this area. They have confirmed that to their knowledge, although we do have the policy in place, it is unheard of it getting to the point where we would need to use lethal control. In every situation that they are aware of, we have been able to deter foxes by blocking access to bins. One of the colleagues that I spoke to about this has worked for the business for 9 years, and couldn’t recall us ever needing to use lethal control.” –  9th August 2017

We have provided Tesco with advice on non-lethal control in order to assist them, should their current non-lethal methods fail to resolve future conflicts.


“Marks and Spencer would deal with the issues as to why a fox might be causing an issue to prevent them becoming a problem rather than control of the animal itself. We would always opt for a humane deterrent and would certainly avoid any lethal control methods.” – 10th July 2017


“If we do ever have a problem with pests e.g foxes, rats, mice and other vermin. We would call in our specialists team, in order to deter the pests in the most humane way as possible.” – 21st July 2017


“We do not have a specific policy in place as we do not believe we have an issue with foxes around our stores.” – 21st July 2017


“This isn’t something we’ve found to be a[n] issue at our shops.” – 21st July 2017


Still waiting for a response.


Still waiting for a response.


“The manner in which our stores are designed, and our waste is stored, works toward ensuring that foxes are not attracted around the store. 

This is because we do not store food waste externally, and our external areas are kept clean and tidy.

Over the last two years, we have not had an issue at any of our stores regarding foxes that required decisive action.

We believe that by denying foxes a source of food and shelter, we ensure that the areas around our stores are not attractive locations for foxes.” – 1 September 2017


  1. Order a ‘Helping Wildlife’ information pack.
  2. Download our humane deterrence fact sheets and only use humane methods to deter wild animals.
  3. If you hear of a wildlife cull – be it foxes, birds or other animals – please let us know.

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