Missed chance to ban animal-maiming traps

Trapped common gull, geallaig hill 27-6-16  wide

A common gull trapped in a snare in the Cairngorms. Its nearby chicks starved to death.

​SNH review did not even consider calls for a ban on snaring

Graham Martin's photo

14th March 2017 by Graham Martin 0 Comments

Urgent and meaningful action must be taken to outlaw “primitive and cruel” snare traps, say animal welfare charities.

The League Against Cruel Sports Scotland and OneKind are urging the Scottish Government to ban snares following a review of the practice in Scotland.

Carried out by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH), the review supports the existing regulatory regime on snaring and did not even consider calls for a ban.

Welfare groups say setting snares is indiscriminate and causes huge amounts of suffering to trapped animals.

They charities criticised the limited scope of the SNH review, which was commissioned by the Scottish Government, and said a proper consultation must be carried out.

This, they said, must be prepared to consider outlawing snares.

Robbie Marsland, director of the League Against Cruel Sports Scotland, said: “Since the snaring regulations were introduced over five years ago animals have continued to endure needless suffering as a result of cruel and indiscriminate traps.

“This review was never going to resolve the problem, it was, sadly, a wasted opportunity. Regulations are not a workable solution for something as crude and barbaric as a snare. In short, you can't regulate cruelty.

“We have long argued that a ban is the only way to eradicate the problems associated with snaring. We will now step up our campaign to convince the Scottish Government to take the common sense approach and ban the manufacture, sale, possession and use of all snares once and for all.”

Harry Huyton, director of OneKind, added:“The review was an opportunity to assess whether the new snaring regulations had ended the suffering and indiscriminate capture caused by snares. 

“Yet it was destined to fail from day one due to a bizarre and inadequate remit which specifically excluded considering whether snares have a place at all in a modern Scotland.

“This, in spite of the fact that they are banned throughout most of Europe. By focusing on illegal snaring and ignoring the bigger question – whether the use of snares is justified in the first place, given the suffering they cause – this review fails to advance the debate.

We are hugely disappointed that SNH has sought welfare advice on the use of snares from pro-snaring organisations such as the Scottish Gamekeepers Association and the British Association for Shooting and Conservation rather than independent expert evidence to assess whether the aspirations of the Scottish Parliament are being met.”

The Scottish Government said the report makes clear that snaring related incidents have reduced while making recommendations for further improvements in the law.

These include introducing the power of disqualification for a snaring offence.

Environment secretary Roseanna Cunningham said: “The review has highlighted that the legislative changes made to snaring regulations in 2011 appear to be working satisfactorily.

“However, I recognise there is room for further improvement in line with the findings of the review.”