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Welsh government announces snare ban

The Welsh government is to introduce a ban on the use of snares despite warnings it will be disastrous for wildlife.

setting a snare for foxes

The ban will form part of the Welsh Agriculture Bill. Announcing the publication of the bills, Minister for Rural Affairs Lesley Griffiths said it: “Sets out how Wales will be the first country in the UK to introduce a complete ban on the use of snares and glue traps. These devices catch animals indiscriminately, causing great deal of suffering, and they are not compatible with the high animal welfare standards we strive for here in Wales. A complete ban is the only way forward.” (Read more on using snares here.)

Wales has seen a disastrous decline in numbers of ground nesting birds in recent years, with curlews particularly badly affected. Despite the proven value of predator management, the Welsh government has been increasingly limiting the options available to the country’s pest controllers and gamekeepers. Welsh gamekeeper Geraint Jones hit out at the decision which he claimed contradicted the evidence. Geraint said: “I think there are a lot of personal decisions made rather than decisions that reflect the people they represent.”

One Welsh farmer identified just as David said: “I will give up helping curlew and lapwing. I’m not prepared to be out with a rifle every possible night. Properly placed snares, set under the code of conduct, are as humane as any other method of fox control. Those using illegal snares won’t take any notice.”

As recently as 2015, the Welsh government agreed a new code of practice for the use of snares to control foxes. The code was agreed by a range of groups including the League Against Cruel Sports. However, since 2018 ministers have stopped meeting with countryside and gamekeeping organisations. BASC Wales director Steve Griffiths said: “BASC remains opposed to a full ban. The latest modern snare designs, also known as humane cable restraints, when used as referenced in the Welsh government’s code of best practice, meet international standards.

“BASC has proposed a solution of legislating against the use of non-code compliant snares while allowing the continued use of humane restraining devices alongside regulated training measures.”