Snaring in Scotland is under the spotlight once again, with the launch last week by the Scottish Executive of a consultation on its future. The consultation and subsequent proposals are viewed by some as a response to failed attempts to ban the practice during the passage of the 2004 Nature Conservation (Scotland) Act.

The new proposals include more technical definitions of ?free-running? and ?self locking? snares, and the creation of a new criminal offence for setting a snare that does not have a permanently crimped stop. Further measures relating to the identification and recording of locations of snares are also under consideration.

Alex Hogg, chairman of the Scottish Gamekeepers? Association ardently defended the use of snares. He told ST: ?We welcome the consultation, but we are the doctors and nurses of the countryside and spend every day of our working lives managing the environment. The fox is a ruthless killer: hens and duck are massacred, day-old lambs killed and any ground-nesting bird is easy prey for a fox on the prowl. As plumbers, joiners and electricians have a range of tools,
so too do professional wildlife managers ? the snare is a vital tool to protect rare and often endangered wildlife.?

Responses to the consultation are requested by 27 February 2007. Contact Deborah Gooch, tel (0131) 244 6544 or email deborah.gooch@scotland.gsi.gov.uk