The and OneKind are urging the Scottish Government to consider and consult on a ban on snares following a review of snaring in Scotland.
The findings of the review, commissioned by the Scottish Government and carried out by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH), were published today (Tuesday). The charities have branded the findings “a wasted opportunity”, and have criticised the limited scope of the review. In 2010, during the passage of the Wildlife and Natural Environment (Scotland) Act, MSPs voted for a regulatory regime for snare use in Scotland rather than an outright ban, but made provisions for a review to be carried out by December 2016.
SNH was tasked with examining the impact of the regulations and has published its findings. The report has found that snaring related incidents have reduced and made a number of recommendations for further small changes to the way which snares are regulated.
The limited remit of the review meant consideration of a ban on snaring was not included in the research, which both the League Scotland and OneKind say was a flaw from the offset. Both charities want to see in Scotland on animal welfare and ethical grounds.
Robbie Marsland, Director of the League Against Cruel Sports, Scotland said: “Since the snaring regulations were introduced over five years ago animals have continued to endure needless suffering as a result of cruel and indiscriminate traps. This review was never going to resolve the problem, it was, sadly, a wasted opportunity. Regulations are not a workable solution for something as crude and barbaric as a snare. In short, you can’t regulate cruelty.
“We have long argued that a ban is the only way to eradicate the problems associated with snaring. We will now step up our campaign to convince the Scottish Government to take the common sense approach and ban the manufacture, sale, possession and use of all snares once and for all.”
The League Scotland and OneKind have been critical of SNH’s approach to animal welfare which both charities say has been overlooked in the review process.
Harry Huyton, Director of OneKind added: “The review was an opportunity to assess whether the new snaring regulations had ended the suffering and indiscriminate capture caused by snares. Yet it was destined to fail from day one due to a bizarre and inadequate remit which specifically excluded considering whether snares have a place at all in a modern Scotland. This, in spite of the fact that they are banned throughout most of Europe. By focusing on illegal snaring and ignoring the bigger question – whether the use of snares is justified in the first place, given the suffering they cause – this review fails to advance the debate.
“We are hugely disappointed that SNH has sought welfare advice on the use of snares from pro-snaring organisations such as the Scottish Gamekeepers Association and the British Association for Shooting and Conservation rather than independent expert evidence to assess whether the aspirations of the Scottish Parliament are being met. We remain convinced that the legislation has not been sufficient to prevent severe animal suffering and will continue to campaign for a complete ban.”
The League Against Cruel Sports Scotland and OneKind have worked together for almost a decade to expose the cruelty of snare use in Scotland developing considerable knowledge and expertise regarding the welfare of wild animals and impact of these primitive, indiscriminate traps over this time.
Mark Ruskell MSP, Environment spokesperson for the Scottish Greens, said:
“This review does nothing other than maintain outdated and inhumane traditions. We need to be moving from a regulatory regime to an outright ban in the interests of animal welfare.
“Today’s response from Scottish Ministers appears to be yet another decision where they have listening more to organisations that want to persecute animals than those who have their welfare at heart.”
Alison Johnstone MSP, vice-convener of Holyrood’s cross-party group on animal welfare, said:
“Snaring causes indiscriminate killing and is hard to monitor. Banning it outright would mean no need for this flawed and barbaric practice. Scottish Ministers must rethink their response.”
Scottish Labour’s spokesperson for Animal Welfare and Environment Claudia Beamish MSP said:
“Scottish Labour called for a consultation on an outright ban on snaring in our Manifesto, because we believe you cannot regulate cruelty to animals.
“The SNP Government’s review was flawed from the start. SNP ministers should have been consulting on an outright ban, not tinkering at the edges on what sort of snares can and can’t be used and how to regulate use. That completely misses the point.”