Charities to fight on after Animal Snaring Proposals Rejected by Scottish Parliament

[singlepic id=270w=177 h=177 float=left]OneKind and the League Against Cruel Sports today said they will continue to work towards making Scotland a snare-free country. An amendment to the new Wildlife and Natural Environment Bill, lodged by Scottish Labour MSP Irene Oldfather, would have created an outright ban on the manufacture, sale, possession and use of snares in Scotland. The amendment was defeated by 72 votes to 50 due to opposition to a ban from the Scottish National Party, Liberal Democrat and Conservative parties.  However, MSPs did support a review of the legislation every five years, as well as further amendments on record-keeping, and on the circumstances in which the setting of snares is an appropriate method of predator control.

Libby Anderson, Policy Director at OneKind, said: “We will use this period, from now till the first review of the Bill, to build up an irrefutable body of evidence which demonstrates that snares are an indiscriminate and inhumane method of predator control.

“While we are of course disappointed that many MSPs failed to support an end to snaring, we believe that the potential for a different political landscape after May’s election will keep this issue at the forefront of Scottish politics. In terms of the Stage 3 debate it was encouraging to see that the issue of snaring provoked strong feelings amongst MSPs. Clearly this is an issue that is not going away.” [singlepic id=271w=300 h=236 float=right]

Snares are thin wire nooses used by some shooting estates and farmers to trap animals deemed to be ‘pests’ such as rabbits and foxes. In reality though, any animal is at risk, including protected wild animals such as badgers, otters and wildcats and even domestic animals such as pet cats and dogs. A TNS System 3 poll carried out last year for OneKind found that 77% of people in Scotland thought snaring should be illegal; and a joint survey carried out by OneKind and the League Against Cruel Sports in 2008 found that 75% of vets believed snaring should end.

Libby Anderson adds:  “The Bill now passed largely reproduces provisions in the current Snares (Scotland) Order2010, which came into force in March last year.  OneKind has evidence that this Order is not being fully complied with by snare users.  When a complaint is made, the proposed identification scheme should make it easier to prove who has set the snare or snares in question, but the complexity of the regulations still makes it difficult for the public to know whether to complain or not.

[singlepic id=272w=300 h=257 float=left]“Going forward we intend to develop a system that will track the effectiveness of the new legislation. If, as we fear, the new legislation proves to be ineffective then we will lobby strongly for it to be amended and for the use of snares to be outlawed in Scotland. We are very grateful to the MSPs who supported the amendment and to the supporters who sent thousands of messages to tell MSPs their views about snaring.”

An independent report, published in November 2010 by academics at the Centre for Animal Welfare and Anthrozoölogy at Cambridge University concludes that snaring is an unacceptable method of pest control because of its extreme effects on animal welfare.


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