Our recent More for Scotland’s Animals YouGov survey revealed that 76% of Scots want to see a ban on the use of snares. We have long-campaigned for a complete ban on the sale, use and manufacture of snares in Scotland. Why? Because they are terrible for animal welfare.
Snares cause considerable physical & mental suffering
Even when used legally, snares are incredibly cruel. A snare is a thin loop of wire, anchored and positioned to catch an animal around the neck. Animals caught in snares suffer immensely. Their natural reaction is to panic and struggle, and they will continue to do so for hours, leaving ‘doughnuts’ of trampled vegetation and churned earth. In addition to the considerable mental distress caused, struggling against the snare can cause it to twist and tighten, leading to injury or death. Some animals will attempt to gnaw through the wire which causes painful damage to the teeth and jaw.
Snares are, quite literally, Stone Age technology.
Snares are indiscriminate
Snares are indiscriminate, and up to 80% of animals caught are non-target species, including badgers, otters, deer, cats and dogs. In 2018, cocker spaniel, Murphy, sadly died after becoming trapped in a snare on his daily dog walk in Cumbria. It is thought that Murphy broke his neck when he became trapped by the wire noose. In 2019, cat, Mackerel, was treated for snare injuries, starvation and dehydration after he was discovered in a snare 10 days after he had gone missing from his home in Malvern.
Snares also do not discriminate between the individuals within the target species either, and are known to catch juveniles, pregnant and lactating animals.
Snares trap foxes for the fur industry
Last year it was revealed that a South Wales man snares foxes, clubs them to death and then sells their fur in Europe and beyond. This is a completely legal activity because while fur farming was banned in the UK in 2000, fur trapping for foxes, and other specific species of animal, is legal.
David Sneade admits to snaring around 300 foxes across an eight-week period in Winter. Footage captured by a member of the public revealed Snead killing a fox caught in a snare with a wooden pole. He called himself “a born trapper” and that snaring and killing animals is “in my blood”.
A spokesperson for the Welsh Government commented that they had no intentions of reviewing the legislation which allows animals to be trapped for their fur.
Regulation has failed
While the law surrounding snares in Scotland is stronger than elsewhere in the UK, it still offers 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. Operators must also 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. Last year, vicarious liability was also extended to offences involving traps and snares.
While these requirements can aid enforcement, they do nothing to protect animals from the welfare problems of snares, which are inherently cruel.
What can I do to help?