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Wales becomes the first UK nation to ban ‘cruel’ snares

17 Oct 2023 4 minute read
Wales’ historic total ban on the use of snares and glue traps comes into force from Tuesday October 17

Martin Shipton

Wales’ historic total ban on the use of snares and glue traps comes into force from Tuesday October 17 and will help end the indiscriminate suffering of animals, Rural Affairs Minister Lesley Griffiths has said.

The use of snares or glue traps in Wales is now illegal, the first ban of its kind in the UK. This measure was included in Wales’ first Agriculture Act and the ban on snares is a Welsh Government commitment.

Snares, sometimes referred to as cable restraints, cause a great deal of suffering to animals and are indiscriminate as they can harm species they are not intended for such as otters, dogs and cats. An animal caught in a snare can endure acute pain and suffering.

Similarly glue traps cause suffering to the trapped animal, including the rodent it was intended for and other animals such as cats. If pets like cats are caught in a glue trap it can tragically lead to the animal being put to sleep as a result of the injuries sustained.

Alternative methods of predator control are widely available, and similarly while rodent control is essential where prevention has failed, more humane and targeted methods are available.

Ms Griffiths, the Labour MS for Wrexham, said: “This is a historic day for animal welfare. We strive for the very highest standards of animal welfare in Wales, and the use of snares and glue traps are incompatible with what we want to achieve.

“Many animals will now be spared the most terrible suffering as a result of this ban. I’m proud Wales is the first of the UK nations to introduce such a move.

“The banning of snares and glue traps is not about preventing predator or rodent control. There are other more humane ways to do this.

“I’d like to thank all our partners who’ve worked hard to bring this ban about, and I look forward to continuing to ensure we have the very highest standards of animal welfare in Wales”

Suffering

Rob Taylor, Wales Rural and Wildlife Crime Co-ordinator said: ““I welcome the introduction of the ban here in Wales. These traps are indiscriminate and over the years I have personally seen various non-target species, such as badgers and cats, caught in snares and suffering terrible injury. After today anyone caught using a snare or glue trap in Wales could face a fine or imprisonment, so we advise people to be aware of this new law and act accordingly”.

Billie-Jade Thomas, senior public affairs manager at RSPCA Cymru said: “We very much welcome the ban on snares and glue traps coming into force.

“Both have the potential to cause immeasurable suffering to animals. Too often, our officers have dealt with animals in severe pain and misery at the hands of these devices; which are cruel, indiscriminate and totally unnecessary.

“The lives of many animals will be saved, including wildlife, pets and farm animals such as sheep and lambs.”

Shahinoor Alom, public affairs officer in Wales at animal welfare charity the League Against Cruel Sports, said: “We are delighted to be able to celebrate the banning of snares in Wales today, and the end of our six-year campaign. The ban shows the Welsh Government’s commitment to strong animal welfare standards, reflects the views of the Welsh public and is a fantastic result for wildlife in Wales.

“Wales is leading the way in reducing the cruelty and suffering that animals face and paving the way for similar bans on snares in both Scotland and England, with the Scottish Parliament set to debate the issue this autumn.”

Gamekeepers

Snares are wire nooses which tighten around their victims and are used predominantly by shooting industry gamekeepers to trap wildlife on land where non-native pheasants and partridges are released in huge numbers simply to be shot.

Up to 51,000 of these cruel devices lie hidden in the Welsh countryside at any one time according to Defra figures.

The same Defra research shows that almost three quarters of the animals caught are not the intended target species such as hares, badgers, otters and people’s pets.

Polling carried out by YouGov in Wales in January 2021 showed that 78% of the Welsh public wanted snares to be made illegal.

The League is now urging the public in Wales to ensure the new ban on snares is being followed and to report any snares to its Animal Crimewatch service and their local police force. People found flouting the ban face a potential six-month jail sentence.


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Jeff
Jeff
7 months ago

Good.
It will need backing up though, we see that wildlife crime appears a low priority at the moment. The courts are in a massive backlog and under funded and police have been denuded over the last 13 years, though I hope they can have the resources to chase down people breaking the laws.

But really, renaming a snare to “restraint device” like calling a shot gun a “shiny tube noise maker”.

Sarah Good
Sarah Good
7 months ago

Glad to see.
I wait with bated breath to see how ARTie opposes this and tries to turn it into another culture war rage-fest like he did the sensible 20mph law

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