Campaigners criticise new legislation banning snares and glue traps in Wales
Rural campaigners have renewed their criticism of the ban on snares and glue traps in Wales, which comes into force next week.
From 17 October Anyone found guilty of using a snare could face imprisonment, an unlimited fine, or both. Possessing a snare will not be illegal under the new legislation.
The ban, which is the first of its kind in the UK, is a Programme for Government commitment, and was supported by the majority of those who took part in a public consultation.
The Countryside Alliance describes the ban as “yet another blow to species conservation” and has criticised Lesley Griffiths, Minister for Rural Affairs and North Wales, and Trefnydd.
The organisation has been an active member of the working group that developed the Welsh Government’s code of practice for the use of snares in fox control. The code specified the use of an improved device, the Humane Cable Restraint, which it is claimed reduces the risk of capturing non-target species, and thus significantly improves welfare standards.
In response to the proposed ban, the Alliance and other rural organisations called for a ban on snares that were not code compliant but says this was ignored at the time by Government officials.
The Alliance says that promoting the Humane Cable Restraint to the Welsh Government as a credible alternative has proven to be exceptionally difficult and accuses the minister of refusing to acknowledge a meeting which she herself suggested and “rubber-stamping” her refusal to consider Humane Cable Restraints by referring to “restraints” in her recent statement setting out a complete ban.
Matthew Goodall, Head of Education and Regional Advisor at the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust said: “The Minister was not wrong to say that snares are sometimes called restraints, as some might call a ‘snare’ a ‘fox restraint’ and vice versa. However, she has completely missed the mark when it comes to the ‘Humane Cable Restraint’. Previously known as the ‘code-complaint snare’, the term Humane Cable Restraint was developed to better describe and highlight the differences between the modern live-capture, humane restraining device and the inhumane snares of old.”
“The term ‘snare’ is still used internationally to describe killing devices which strangle animals to death, whereas the Humane Cable Restraint, when set in accordance with the Code of Practice, is much more selective and restrains caught animals alive and unharmed.
“This statement is backed up by GWCT scientific research which demonstrated the Humane Cable Restraint surpasses the standards set within the Agreement on International Humane Trapping Standards which Wales as part of the UK is signed up to.”
Rachel Evans, Countryside Alliance Director for Wales said: “Whilst we can question the way that this legislation came to fruition and the evidence behind the decision – which we believe risks hampering conservation efforts to protect rare ground nesting birds such as curlew – it is here and coming into force on the 17th of October. I urge members and supporters to adhere to the law and to spread the message that the use of snares and glue traps is banned from the 17th of October 2023 in Wales.”
The minister said:“There is now a week to go before the use of snares and glue traps are banned in Wales. This will bring an end to suffering and pain to many animals, often those which were not the intended target of the trap.
“The aim of the ban is to stop an inhumane method of predator and rodent control. Other more humane methods exist and are widely used.
“The use of snares and glue traps are not compatible with the high animal welfare standards we strive for here in Wales. I’m pleased we are leading the way on this issue.”
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