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Wales introduces ban on snares and glue traps this autumn

26 Sep 2023 4 minute read
A badger caught in a snare

Rural Affairs Minister Lesley Griffiths has confirmed the Welsh Government will introduce the first total ban on the use of snares and glue traps in the UK this Autumn.

From 17 October the use of snares and glue traps will be illegal in Wales.  This follows the passing of the Agriculture (Wales) Act into law this summer which included the provision.

The ban on the use of snares is a Programme for Government commitment and was supported by a majority of those who took part in the public consultation.

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 and can harm species they are not intended for such as otters, dogs and cats.

Since 2020, the RSPCA reports it has been called to attend 12 instances involving snares in Wales which had caught protected species such as badgers and in some cases, pets.

While self-locking snares are already illegal in Wales, others are not – but this new legislation bans 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.

Glue traps 

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.

Glue traps cause suffering to the trapped animal, and pets such as cats have had to be put down as a result the injuries sustained from the traps.

The UK Government has legislated for only a partial ban in England, but a complete ban will be introduced in Wales, another first in the UK.

The Welsh Government says that while rodent control is essential, where prevention has failed, more humane and targeted methods are available.

The Minister said: “The use of snares and glue traps are not compatible with the high animal welfare standards we strive for here in Wales. These methods can cause a great deal of suffering and harm to all animals.

“The banning of snares is a Programme for Government commitment and we have been working towards this day for a long time with partners and stakeholders. Many animals, including those which were not the intended target of the snare, will be spared suffering as a result of this ban.

“Banning snares is about preventing inhumane methods being used and does not prevent predator control using other methods.

“There are also many more humane ways to control rodents than through the use of glue traps.

“I’m pleased Wales is leading the way on this issue, and we will continue to strive for high animal welfare standards.”

Immeasurable suffering

Welcoming the ban, David Bowles, RSPCA head of public affairs, said: “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,” he said.

“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.”

From 17 October the use of snares and glue traps will be illegal in Wales. Anyone found guilty of using a snare could face imprisonment or an unlimited fine or both.

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8 months ago

Good. But prosecute those that are caught. I know the issue is catching the offender, but maybe re education is also needed. Now target raptor persecution. Gamekeeper caught, employer is also in the dock.

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