Nationalist delegates urged Mr Russell to review his decision to tighten laws around the use of snares, but not to ban them. Christine Grahame, South of Scotland MSP, opened the debate at the conference. She argued that the Scottish Executive had not gone far enough: I oppose the use of snares entirely. On a day when the rain is coming down in steel rods, theres nobody going out to check snares. Theres nobody going out to check theyre at the right height. Theres nobody going out to check the identification tags on them.
Mr Russell defended his decision, which he made in February: Ive got lots of things I want to see happen in the field of wildlife crime. I want to stamp out [wildlife crime] absolutely. But Im not going to do that if I drive it under ground. Im not going to do that if I alienate all those people working in the countryside. Government can be tough, it can be difficult. But we are cracking wildlife crime.
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