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A new DEFRA report into the use of snares has found that results vary widely depending on the skill and knowledge of the operator, and that standards in fox snaring need to be raised, particularly outside the gamekeeping community.

During 16 field visits, the report?s authors found that no fox snare operator was fully compliant with DEFRA?s Code of Practice.

The National Gamekeepers? Organisation (NGO) said that DEFRA should now help promote the widespread adoption of the Code to improve standards, and consider giving it a higher legal status to ensure greater compliance.

An NGO spokesman said: ?The challenge now is to bring all snare users up to the standards of the best. We will do our bit by continuing to provide training courses and advice on snare design and best practice, but we urge the Government to respond to the research by playing its part too.

?Snaring is an essential method of fox control in the UK, where wide variations in habitats and seasons mean a broad range of control techniques must be available throughout the year.?

BASC and the Countryside Alliance (CA) also welcomed the report, which found that, when done correctly, the snaring of foxes met the standards required by international agreements.

BASC?s head of game and gamekeeping, Glynn Evans, said: ?We welcome the report?s commitment to the continuance of snaring as a means of pest control, and welcome the opportunity to work with the Government and stakeholders to ensure that snaring is conducted according to the highest standards.?

The rest of this article appears in the 21st March issue of Shooting Times.

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