Minister for the environment, Michael Russell, revealed the use of snares will be restricted, though snares that “inflict unnecessary suffering” will be banned.

New penalties for those who use snares illegally are also part of the proposals.

In response to a public consultation, carried out last year, the measures that are to be introduced within the next few months include safety stops to prevent nooses closing too far, and ID tags on snares and areas where snares are set will have to be clearly marked.

Setting a snare where it could cause unnecessary suffering will be banned.

In a show of solidarity, the Scottish Countryside Alliance (SCA), BASC Scotland, the Scottish Rural Property and Business Association, the Scottish Estates Business Group, the Scottish Gamekeepers’ Association (SGA), NFU Scotland and the National Sheep Association, issued a joint statement committing to best practice in snaring and addressing concerns over animal welfare.

In the face of strong opposition from animal welfare groups, the SCA’s Tony Andrews hailed the outcome as a victory for common sense: “Mr Russell deserves credit for his courageous decision to support a strictly controlled snaring regime for the future. Scottish rural and wildlife managers now have a government that listens to their concerns and does not allow itself to be deflected by the strident voices of extremist, urban-based groups, which usually have little or no experience of managing wildlife diversity through balance, experience, good husbandry and common sense.”

The rest of this article appears in 28 February issue of Shooting Times.

An audio file of Michael Russell talking about his decision on snaring can be downloaded from the Scottish Government website

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