Scottish animal campaigns charity, OneKind, has released a new report, SnareWatch Annual Report 2022: Case studies of snare use in the UK, which highlights some of the worst snaring, or suspected snaring, incidents in the UK during 2022.

Incidents involve species snares are intended to catch, such as foxes, and non-target species such as dogs, deer and badgers.

Snares are archaic traps used primarily to protect birds such as grouse and pheasants from foxes, so there is a surplus of these birds for people to shoot for 'leisure’. They can cause considerable physical and emotional suffering to the animals trapped in them, and yet these cruel devices are still perfectly legal across Scotland and the rest of the UK, though a Bill currently going through the Senedd will soon ban them in Wales.

OneKind Campaigner, Eve Massie, said:

"Our latest snaring report, SnareWatch Annual Report 2022: Case studies of snare use in the UK highlights the suffering inflicted upon animals by snares and why a ban on these outdated and cruel traps is crucial.

"Snares can cause the animals trapped in them considerable physical and mental suffering and yet unbelievably, these cruel devices are still legal in Scotland. Animals may suffer from deep wounds, internal organ damage or even death due to being trapped in snares. Death may be slow, as snares frequently become twisted or frayed as the animal struggles, leading to strangulation, or the animal succumbing to their injuries. They may also suffer from hunger, thirst, exposure and attacks from other animals.

"Snares also inflict emotional suffering, with trapped animals likely to become fearful and distressed".

Eve commented on two of the incidents:

"In a particularly worrying case, a local discovered her 15-month-old Border Terrier, 2.5 hours after he had gone missing on his walk, trapped by his neck in a snare, choking in distress. Thankfully, the dog recovered.

"We also heard from a couple who found a distressed deer trapped with a snare around her neck. She was naturally panicking, causing the snare to tighten. She sadly died.

"As these reports show, snares are not only cruel, but indiscriminate to the species that they catch. Indeed, up to 70% of all animals caught in snares are not of the species snares are set for".

On the Scottish Government’s current consideration of snaring, Eve continues:

"The Scottish Government is planning to introduce provisions on snaring at Stage 2 of the Wildlife Management and Muirburn (Scotland) Bill and a ban on the use of these archaic traps could be a real possibility.

"OneKind believes that there should be a complete ban on the use and sale of snares in Scotland. Thousands of our supporters wrote to the former Minister for Environment and Land Reform, Màiri McAllan, in favour of a ban and are responding to the Rural Affairs and Islands Committee’s call to views on the Bill, urging for a snaring ban.

"You cannot regulate cruelty".

Notes to Editor

  1. OneKind is a Scottish animal protection charity working to end cruelty to Scotland’s animals.
  2. You can read the report here.
  3. Contact Eve Massie Bishop at: [email protected] or at: 0131 285 9859 for any media enquiries..
  4. The Scottish Animal Welfare Commission has recommended a complete ban on the use of snares in Scotland on animal welfare grounds. You can read their report here.
  5. A snare is a thin loop of wire, anchored and positioned to catch an animal around the neck. In Scotland today they are mainly used to target foxes on or near grouse moors, due to the species’ perceived threat to the grouse. They may also be used to target rabbits and hares.
  6. SnareWatch is a reporting tool run by OneKind, where anyone in the UK can report snare sightings and snaring incidents and get advice on how to report any illegal incidents. You can view all the reports here.