With the Scottish Government currently reviewing snaring, we’ve recently been escalating our long-running campaign calling for a full ban on the manufacture, sale and use of snares in Scotland.

This has included preparing for our upcoming demonstration outside the Scottish Parliament, and launching our appeal for support so we can finally secure a ban on these cruel, archaic and indiscriminate traps.

Previously, we’ve talked about why the use of snares can never be justified. Despite legislation to regulate snaring introduced in 2011, snares have continued to cause extreme mental and physical suffering to wild, companion and farmed animals.

With a decade of reports on our SnareWatch website since its launch back in 2011, we have a wealth of evidence revealing the prolonged suffering inflicted by snares on animals. This totals 516 individuals caught in snares, many left suffering for hours and sadly not surviving their injuries. And these are just the reported cases.

Stories of SnareWatch

These 516+ animals are not just part of a statistic. Each one is, or was, a sentient individual with their own story of suffering and/or loss of life to snares.

Here are 5 of some of the worst stories from SnareWatch and the media, demonstrating the cruel and indiscriminate nature of these traps.

1.The tragic story of Murphy, the cocker spaniel

Black spaniel

In 2018, we were saddened to receive a report from Cumbria local Gary, who tragically discovered his companion Murphy dead in a snare.

They had been walking together in the local Flinty Fell woods, situated near the Weardale Estate, which is managed for driven grouse shooting. Gary lost sight of Murphy on the path and went in search of him.

He later found the young cocker spaniel caught in the snare, and already passed away, with an apparently broken neck from the snare’s wire noose.

Gary told us,

“Murphy was a young, healthy dog who lost his life on an everyday walk in the forest, because these indiscriminate snares were deliberately set to capture animals. Our other dog, Tess, is missing him sorely.”

Sadly, Gary’s story is just one of many we have received over the years of beloved companion animals suffering and losing their lives to snares.

In fact, up to 70% of animals trapped in snares are non-target species. This is reflected in our most recent 2021 annual snaring report which featured multiple instances of dogs, cats and other non-target wildlife and farmed animals being snared.

Badger put to sleep due to severe snare injury

Badger in a village garden

Last year, we received a report of a snared badger from a couple in Drumnadrochit, a village on the western shore of Loch Ness. While watching back wildlife footage recorded by cameras in their garden, they noticed a badger with a snare around their neck.

Shocked, the couple contacted their local animal rescue centre, who brought the badger to a vet for treatment. Sadly, the badger’s injuries were so severe that they had to be put down.

The couple spoke to us at the time,

“We are disgusted that anybody can set a snare that can cause such suffering to any animal that may get caught in it. The use of, sale and manufacture of snares should be banned here in Scotland and the rest of the UK as they are in many other countries.”

Badgers are unfortunately a common non-target victim of snaring. This is just one of many reports we have received over the years of badgers being caught in snares.

Fox found injured and covered in parasites in legal snare

In 2020, an RSPCA inspector rescued a fox who had been caught by a legal snare in the mouth in Teesdale.*

Covered in flies and parasites, the fox appeared to have been trapped for an extended period of time and had to be rushed to a local vet for treatment.

Legally, snares must be checked every 24 hours. However, even if this is adhered to, it is an extremely long time for a distressed and possibly wounded animal to be trapped.

The RSPCA inspector spoke to a local newspaper at the time:

“The RSPCA is against the use of snares because of the suffering they cause, not only to animals like foxes that are often the target of such traps, but also to other animals like badgers and even domestic animals like cats.”

*Credit for the reporting of this case goes to the Teesdale Mercury

Snared cat’s leg amputated

Cat with amputated leg which was caught in snare

In 2017, we received a report from Pontefract of a cat who sadly had to have their leg amputated after being caught in a snare.
The cat had luckily been freed but returned home with the snare still attached to their leg. The severity of the injury meant the leg unfortunately had to be amputated.

Sadly, this is not the first story of cats being severely injured from snares. Last year we received horrific news of a cat who had severe neck injuries from a suspected snare, only to then be hit by a car and sadly die. Another distressing case from 2021 involved a local in Bolton who discovered bodies of a snared cat and fox together on a grouse moor estate.

Brown hare mother gives birth and dies in snare


2016 saw the tragic case of a brown hare mother discovered dead, having been caught in an illegal snare. She had given birth to a leveret before dying, and had sadly been unable to care for her young before she died.

The leveret was found frightened beside their mother’s body and was brought to a veterinarian, but sadly did not survive.

This story hammers home the fact that snares are non-selective, and can capture juveniles, lactating or pregnant individuals.

How you can help

These distressing stories truly showcase the barbaric, indiscriminate nature of snares. Regulation has clearly failed – nothing short of a full ban on their manufacture, sale and use is needed to protect animals from this suffering.

Banning snares is a no-brainer for the Scottish Government. A decision to consign these indefensible traps to history would be celebrated by the people of Scotland, most of whom support a ban.

With the Government currently reviewing snaring, it is especially crucial right now that we send a strong message that the public supports a full snaring ban.

  1. Here are 3 ways you can help us do this, and make sure this cruelty is consigned to history:
  2. Send an email to the Minister for Environment, Biodiversity and Land Reform, Màiri McAllan, that you support a full snaring ban. It only takes a few minutes, and we’ve set up a handy customisable template for you to use.
  3. Join our demonstration outside the Scottish Parliament on September 17th calling for a full ban on snares. We’d love to see as many of our supporters there as possible.
  4. Support our appeal, and help us keep campaigning towards a ban on snares. Actions like our upcoming demonstration are only possible due to the generosity of supporters. Thank you to all who have supported so far.