Scotland proposes ban on snare traps!

Red fox kit in the wild. Photo by Jillian Cooper / Getty Images

Exciting news from the UK this week as Scotland announces plans to ban snare traps! The Scottish Government has opened a public consultation seeking feedback on the use of snares in the country.

Gillian Martin, Scotland’s Environment Minister, states, “Snare traps lead to unnecessary suffering for animals and these proposals are part of our ongoing efforts to ensure that wildlife management is both sustainable and humane.”

In a statement posted to the consultation, the Scottish SPCA expressed support for the move to ban snares.

“The Scottish SPCA strongly supports this announcement by the Scottish Government. As Scotland’s animal welfare charity, we have long called for an outright ban on the use of snares due to the level of suffering an animal is caused. Animals that are caught in snares can be caused unimaginable physical and mental anguish. Following reports from members of the public, we have found domestic animals, protected species and target animals that have all suffered dreadfully in both illegal and legal snares. A ban on all snaring is the only way to stop this unacceptable suffering. We are very pleased with the announcement of a ban, which will be a historic moment for animal welfare in Scotland."

Mike Flynn- Scottish SPCA Chief Superintendent

The announcement notes that most European countries do not allow snares, which are legal in only six countries in Europe. Scotland’s proposal to ban snare traps comes on the heels of Wales banning snare traps earlier this year. Wales became the first country in the United Kingdom to ban the cruel devices (along with the snare trap ban, Wales also banned glue traps).

The action taken on snares from these countries are a massive step forward in eliminating cruel traps and the widespread animal suffering that results from them. Well done Scotland and Wales!

What are snare traps and why are they so cruel?

A simple snare trap. Some provinces require snares to have locking mechanisms.

Snares are simple traps: they are wire cables set in a loop that tighten once an animal’s neck (or sometimes their legs) are caught in them. Animals will try to free themselves from the snare but it will keep tightening, restricting the animal’s breathing and eventually killing them through strangulation. Often the death is not immediate, leaving animals to suffer for extended periods of time. This process is extremely cruel and causes significant suffering for animals caught in these killing devices. More information about snare traps can be found on our trapping page by clicking here.

Not only are these traps cruel for target animals, they can catch and kill non-target animals such as endangered species and even pets. There are numerous incidents across Canada where dogs are injured and killed by snares set by trappers. Click here to view a list of some of these incidents.

Wales and Scotland are stepping up to eliminate these cruel devices. Snares are still legal and widely used across Canada, subjecting countless wild animals to pain, suffering, and death. Governments in Canada need to follow the lead of their Commonwealth cousins and take action against snare traps.

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