Wales expected to become first UK nation to ban snares and glue traps
The completion of a new bill due to take place at the Senedd today (27 June) has been hailed as “a momentous occasion for animal welfare” by RSPCA Cymru.
If the vote is passed – as is widely expected – this evening, the Welsh Government’s Agriculture (Wales) Bill will go forward for Royal Assent.
It is set to introduce bans on the use of snares and glue traps in Wales – and also paves the way for a new payments scheme which could incentivise farmers delivering the highest standards of animal welfare.
Wales will be the first in the UK to ban snares, and the first to introduce a blanket ban on glue traps.
The animal welfare charity says this is a “momentous day” for animal welfare in Wales ahead of the final stage of Senedd scrutiny.
It is anticipated that the bill will become law later this year, once it has been granted Royal Assent.
David Bowles, RSPCA head of public affairs, said: “The Agriculture (Wales) Bill has provided a massive opportunity to ensure that animal welfare is at the forefront of agriculture policy in Wales.
“It will be a truly momentous occasion for animal welfare to see snares and glue traps banned in Wales and we’re proud of our campaigning efforts in recent years that have helped make this a reality.
“We are also pleased to see the Bill could eventually provide financial incentives for farmers within the agriculture sector in Wales who work to high standards of animal welfare. Therefore, we are delighted to see this Bill has finally come to fruition – following tireless campaigning by RSPCA Cymru.”
A snare is a wire noose, usually attached to a stake, tree or another heavy object acting as an anchor. They are usually set to catch foxes or rabbits, but cannot distinguish between different species of animals – so are indiscriminate in what they catch.
Since 2020, RSPCA officers have been called to attend 12 instances involving snares in Wales which had caught protected species such as badgers and in some cases, much-loved pets.
While self-locking snares are already illegal in Wales, others are not – but this legislation will prohibit the use of all snares, or any other cable restraint, for the purpose of killing or trapping a wild animal, or in any other way that is likely to injure a wild animal.
RSPCA Cymru is opposed to the manufacture, sale and use of all snares, and frontline officers sadly regularly deal with incidents where animals are found suffering in snares.
Glue traps – also known as ‘glue boards’ or ‘sticky boards’ – consist of a sheet of plastic, cardboard or wood coated with non-drying adhesive designed to trap rodents such as mice and rats as they cross the board.
Last year, the UK Government introduced a ban on glue traps in England with the law coming into force in April 2024 – however there are some exemptions to the ban under licence, with pest controllers still able to use them.
In Wales there will be a complete ban – which will be the first of its kind in the UK.
The Welsh Government’s action on glue traps follows two Senedd Members putting forward RSPCA proposals to ban the use of glue traps into a Welsh Parliamentary ballot for Member-proposed legislation as part of the charity’s #LawsForPaws campaign.
While they were not drawn from the hat, the Welsh Government later announced its own plans for a ban.
David added: “Snares and glue traps have no place in a modern and compassionate Wales. Both have the potential to cause immeasurable suffering to animals.
“On snares, this will be the first ban of its kind in the UK and will be a huge step forward in Wales and we are also pleased there are no exceptions to the glue trap ban. 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.”
However, the legislation will not cover the continued sale of the traps across Wales.
“Although their use will be banned outright, there is still no law against buying these devices,” said David.
“Because of this, the enforcement of the bans on the use of snares and glue traps will be key to ensuring that animals are protected from these traps, as intended by the Welsh Government.”
The Agriculture (Wales) Bill will also give Welsh Ministers powers to provide financial support for farmers following Wales’ withdrawal from the European Union.
The RSPCA previously welcomed plans from the Welsh Government for a Sustainable Farming Scheme, which gave the strongest indication yet that farmers will be incentivised for delivering ‘the highest (animal) welfare standards’.
While the Agriculture (Wales) Bill grants Ministers with the relevant powers in this respect, there is no legal obligation for them to be used.
However, RSPCA Cymru will now work with the Welsh Government on shaping the relevant payments scheme to ensure that farmers who adhere to higher welfare standards are rewarded for their efforts.
David added: “We’ve long said the Agriculture Bill offered the biggest opportunity in the history of devolution to improve farm animal welfare – and incentives for farmers to deliver higher standards will be key in doing that.
“We’ve given a big welcome to the latest announcement for the Sustainable Farming Scheme, and with the Agriculture Bill now published, we look forward to working with the Welsh Government to ensure the standards incentivised best improve welfare, and learn lessons from established, trusted assurance labels like RSPCA Assured.
“While there’s a lot to welcome from the Bill, we are also keen to hear more from the Welsh Government on its plans for labelling animal derived produce as part of a drive to give consumers in Wales more information than ever before on what they are eating, where it has come from, and to what standards it was reared.
“With a UK Government consultation on this matter expected soon, a joined-up approach with other UK nations could inform consumer choice while encouraging the purchase of higher welfare produce in Wales.”
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