OneKind and the League Against Cruel Sports Scotland are calling on the Scottish Parliament to lead the way in the UK and introduce a complete ban on the manufacture, sale, possession and use of snares in Scotland.
We believe that the current legislation is not doing nearly enough to prevent the severe suffering of animals caught in snares. That is why we are calling on MSPs to support our campaign for a Snare-Free Scotland.
Snares continue to be used across Scotland and the UK, mostly to protect gamebirds from fox predation to benefit the shooting industry. They cause extreme physical and mental suffering to the animals they catch, and they are indiscriminate in what type of animal they capture. Through www.SnareWatch.org, we’ve had reports of all kinds of animals including protected species like badgers and otters, as well as family pets like cats and dogs being caught and even killed in snares. Thousands of animals are thought to suffer and die in this way every year; we believe this is a completely unacceptable situation.
The law in Scotland is stronger than the rest of the UK, yet it still offers Scotland’s animals very little protection. In the UK, snares must be free-running to reduce the risk of snare wire causing flesh wounds and snares must be checked every 24 hours. In Scotland, there are additional requirements, such as ensuring snares are fitted with a stop to prevent animals from being strangled, requiring operators to complete a training course by a rural college or shooting industry body to receive an ID number from Police Scotland, which must be present on all their snares. This requirement can aid enforcement, but does nothing to protect animals from the inherent welfare problems of snares.
It might look like the current legislation is comprehensive, but the evidence shows that it’s just not working which is why we support an outright ban on snares in Scotland.
The trouble with snares
Since 2011, we’ve been appealing for members of the public to report snares through our website SnareWatch.org. The reports you’ve submitted show that snaring is widespread across the UK, and is happening in rural and more populated areas.
An animal caught in a snare can suffer in severe agony often leading to a slow, painful death. Our reports show that a quarter of animals recovered in snares were dead and 10% were so severely injured by the snare that they had to be put down later.
Snares might be set predominantly to catch foxes or rabbits, but our reports have also shown they are regularly catching a wide range of non-target species. Out of 127 reports received since 2011, 72 concerned the capture of pets. The data also showed a quarter of animals caught were protected species (25 badgers and 4 otters). In fact, only 19 of the animals found in snares were the supposed target species.
The continued widespread suffering of animals in the grips of snares across Scotland demonstrates that the regulatory approach has failed. OneKind and the League Against Cruel Sports Scotland want Scotland to lead the way and introduce a complete ban on the manufacture, sale, possession and use of snares in Scotland. This won’t happen without your help, which is why we need you to take action now and email your MSP asking them to support our campaign for a Snare-Free Scotland.