Leading Scottish animal welfare campaigns charity OneKind has welcomed one of the recommendations in the newly-published Werritty Group report that users of traps should be legally required to undertake training, including refresher courses, and attach individual operator identification numbers to their traps.
The report makes a number of recommendations for improving the sustainability of grouse moors in Scotland including:
That new legislation should be introduced to make it a legal requirement that it becomes an offence to set or operate a trap without an operator having successfully completed a course run by an approved and accredited body and dealing with the relevant category of trap (cage and/or spring). A trap operator who has successfully completed a relevant trap training course should apply to their local police station for a unique identification number which must be attached to all traps that are set.
That any operator dealing with the relevant category of trap (cage and/or spring) should undergo refresher training at least once every ten years.
OneKind Director Bob Elliot said:
“Untold suffering is caused to thousands of animals each year due to trapping and killing on grouse moors. While we would prefer to see the Scottish countryside free of animal traps, we recognise that the Werritty Group recommendations for proper training in their use should become a legal requirement We have see far too many cases of target and non-target animals suffering in cage traps and spring traps, from magpies used as decoys in corvid traps, to small mammals struggling and slowly dying in supposedly lethal spring traps.
“We see these recommendations as a step in the right direction and we urge the Scottish Government to adopt and develop them. It will be essential for training to include independent veterinary input on animal welfare, and for further requirements on trap inspection to be introduced. Above all, we welcome the prospect of all traps carrying an individual identification number so that the specific operators of traps are accountable for their use.
OneKind has lodged a Public Petition to the Scottish Parliament calling for an independent expert review of the welfare issues surrounding traps and snares, and has also recently published a report on trapping and killing, with the League Against Cruel Sports, as part of the Revive coalition.
“The main message OneKInd would send the Scottish Government following publication of the Werritty Group report is that it should proceed to license grouse moor businesses without further delay. Welfare was not part of the Group’s remit and we have to accept that its reach is limited in that respect. However, it has opened a door on further regulation of trapping and we will continue to pursue those issues.”