New footage passed through to leading animal welfare campaigns charity, OneKind, reveals snares set near a pile of rotting animal carcasses, apparently set by gamekeepers in Strathnairn, south of Inverness.
In order to maximise the number of red grouse and pheasants available for recreational shooting, gamekeepers target foxes. To lure foxes into snares, gamekeepers often lay snares around a ‘stink pit’: a place where the gamekeepers dump rotting animal carcasses. The smell of decomposing animals lures the foxes towards the dead animals, where they are then caught in the snares surrounding the pit.
The use of these stink pits is a fundamental part of intensive predator control on Scottish shooting estates.
OneKind’s Director Bob Elliot said:
“The use of stink pits to lure animals into cruel snares, which inflict considerable mental and physical suffering upon the animals trapped in them, shows a fundamental lack of respect for Scotland’s wild and domestic animals.
“Although snares are set to target predators to the red grouse, non-target species are often found among the animals dumped in stink pits, and during our work in the field we have discovered deer, geese, salmon and even cats in stink pits.
“In this recent case, the animals discovered in the grotesque stink pit included rooks and fox cubs. It’s a disgrace that this mass killing of rooks is still permitted and we were horrified to see that even young animals were treated as bait. Some of the rooks appeared to be juveniles, hardly surprising given that this is the time when they emerge from their nests and perch on branches before fledging fully. The welfare issues of shooting rooks have not been fully researched but one can safely assume that they suffer. Shooters seldom, if ever, use dogs to retrieve wounded birds and ensure they are despatched to put them out of their misery. Fox cubs are loved by so many of the Scottish public, and we know that the killing and dumping of them like this will be very upsetting to many.
“We urge anyone out walking in Scotland to take photos and report any snares or snaring incidents through our dedicated snare awareness website, SnareWatch. We continue to raise awareness of the reality of snare use in our countryside, and the suffering these cruel traps inflict upon Scotland’s wild animals.
“OneKind has long campaigned for a ban on stink pits and the sale, manufacture, possession and use of snares in Scotland and our petition for a review of snares and other traps is currently being considered by the Scottish Parliament. We have also produced a report, ‘Untold Suffering’, that details the scale and level of suffering inflicted on wild animals by these antiquated traps, highlighting why a ban is necessary.”
OneKind has notified Police Scotland about one snare photographed at the site, as it did not have a visible identification tag, which is a legal requirement. The question of whether stink pits are legal has been raised repeatedly by OneKind.