Scotland’s leading animal campaigns charity, OneKind, has released a new report, SnareWatch Annual Report 2020: Case studies of snare use in the UK, which highlights some of the worst snaring, or suspected snaring, incidents in the UK during 2020.
A snare is a thin loop of wire, anchored and positioned to catch an animal around the neck. Snares are, quite literally, Stone Age technology and have been used globally for centuries to catch a variety of species. In Scotland today they are mainly used to target foxes on or near grouse moors, due to the species’ perceived threat to the grouse. They may also be used to target rabbits and hares. They are required by law to be ‘free-running’ so that the wire relaxes when the animal stops struggling.
The report encompasses snaring incidents involving target species, such as foxes, and also non-target species including dogs, cats and farmed animals. Most of the animals that were found alive, but injured, required veterinary attention.
OneKind Campaigner, Eve Massie, said:
“Our new report, SnareWatch Annual Report 2020: Case studies of snare use in the UK, raises awareness of the suffering that wire snares inflict upon animals. Snares can cause the animals trapped in them considerable stress and pain, yet astonishingly, are still legal in the UK. Our report highlights several cases of animals that were found alive in the snares and required veterinary attention. This includes a fox that had to be treated for the fly eggs and parasites on his body after he was trapped in a snare, suggesting he may have been there for an extended time.
“Wire snares are not only cruel but are also indiscriminate as to the species caught in them. Indeed, up to 70% of all animals caught in snares are non-target species. As evidenced in our report, dogs, cats, foxes, badgers and even lambs are caught in snares across the UK. In one particularly upsetting incident, a dog required 25 stitches for a hole in his chest that exposed muscle. The vet who treated him suspected that his injuries were consistent with being entangled in a snare.
“By highlighting snaring incidents in this new report, we aim to show how widespread snaring can be in the UK and just how much suffering these archaic traps can inflict upon animals.”
On OneKind’s snare reporting website, SnareWatch.org, Eve said:
“Since 2011 we have been appealing for reports about snares found by members of the public through our snare reporting tool website, SnareWatch.org. So long as snares are legal in the UK, we believe it is imperative to gather information about the nature and extent of snaring.
On calling for a ban on snares, Eve continues:
“OneKind has long-campaigned for a complete ban on the sale, use and manufacture of snares in Scotland. Our Parliamentary petition to assess the welfare risks of wildlife ‘control’ in Scotland, including the use of snares, was closed by the Scottish Parliament. This was in part, because the Scottish Government is due to review snaring this year. We hope this report will encourage the Scottish Government to reconsider the use of snares in Scotland. In 2017, NatureScot stopped issuing licenses for the snaring of mountain hares. Its time snares are banned for all species of animal. Suffering is suffering, no matter what species of animal it is inflicted upon.”
Notes to Editor
- OneKind is a Scottish animal protection charity working to end cruelty to Scotland’s animals.
- You can read the report, SnareWatch Annual Report 2020: Case studies of snare use in the UK, here.
- SnareWatch is a reporting tool run by OneKind, where anyone in the UK can report snare sightings and snaring incidents and get advice on how to report any illegal incidents. You can view all the reports here.