The intensive management of Scotland’s driven grouse moors is killing Scotland’s beautiful wildlife.

 

We are calling for an end to the killing of wildlife on grouse moors and elsewhere in Scotland.

Fox and cub

Around 1/5 of upland Scotland is used for driven grouse shooting. In order to keep red grouse numbers as artificially high as possible for commercial shooting, gamekeepers routinely set cruel and antiquated, though legal, traps on estates to trap predators to the red grouse. Although these traps are targeted towards the red grouse predators, such as foxes and stoats, these traps are indiscriminate and can cause suffering to non-target species, such as companion dogs, cats and badgers, too.

Send a letter to the Minister in favour of a snaring ban

Types of traps

Tens of thousands of Scotland’s animals are being killed on grouse moors each year. Gamekeepers routinely use a selection of cruel traps that inflict mental and physical suffering on the animals caught in them. The method of trapping and killing varies dependent on species.

Snares

Snared badger

 

A snare is a simple anchored noose, that traps an animal either by its leg, abdomen or neck. It inflicts considerable mental and physical suffering. In addition to the considerable mental distress caused, struggling against the snare can cause it to twist and tighten, leading to injury or death.

Some animals attempt to chew through the wire, damaging their mouths and fraying the wire so that the snare tangles and effectively becomes self-locking. If caught around the abdomen instead of the neck, the animal may suffer deep wounds and internal organ damage.

While the Scottish Government undertakes a review on the impact of snaring in Scotland, more than 1,6000 of our supporters have written to the Minister for Environment and Land Reform, Màiri McAllan, urging for a full snaring ban. The Minister has responded and you can view her response here. We are still awaiting the outcome of the review.

Spring traps

Spring trap

 

Spring traps are essentially larger and more powerful mouse traps that target stoats and weasels. They are placed on routes likely to be used by these animals, frequently on logs across streams.

Upon catching an animal, they spring shut with enough force to hold, crush and kill the trapped animal.

Crow cage traps

Crow cage traps are used to catch birds, primarily crows. 

Crow trap

 

Large multi-catch cage traps will usually have a live ‘decoy’ bird and a food lure inside. Corvids are territorial and will come to challenge the intruder and take the food.

Smaller portable Larsen traps placed on the ground can also have a ‘decoy’ bird, in this case in a separate compartment, and a food lure, but they are designed to catch only one other bird. 

Both are designed to be easy to enter but difficult or impossible to leave.

There are obvious welfare concerns about the psychological effects of sudden capture on wild birds, and of being in close confinement with other territorial individuals. Birds can also be injured when entering the traps or when trying to escape and can suffer from hunger, thirst, exposure and predation while in the trap.

Stink pits

Stink pit with dead foxes

 

To lure foxes into snares, gamekeepers often lay snares around a ‘stink pit’: a place where the gamekeepers dump rotting animal carcasses. The smell of decomposing animals lures the foxes towards the dead animals, where they are then caught in the snares surrounding the pit. During our work in the field we have discovered foxes, deer, geese and fish in stink pits.

Media coverage highlights

Recent media coverage of our campaign to End Wildlife Killings include articles in The Times, and The Sunday Post

"In recent years cats and dogs were among animals caught in the snares, which can cause death and severe injury such as deep wounds and damage to internal organs, according to a report by OneKind, an animal welfare group." 

K.Hay, 'Snares to trap animals could be banned due to illegal use'The Times, 2 April 2022

"OneKind’s Director Bob Elliot said: “Snares are cruel, indiscriminate traps that need to be consigned to the history books."

R.Crae, 'Animal welfare charity calls on the public to report snare sightings in Scotland'The Sunday Post, 10 March 2020

 

We have long-campaigned for a complete ban on the sale, use and manufacture of snares and traps in Scotland.

Our recent highlights include:

  • More than 1,600 supporters writing to the Minister for Environment and Land Reform, Màiri McAllan, urging the Scottish Government to introduce a full snaring ban.
  • Our SnareWatch reporting tool.
  • Releasing our case studies reports of snaring in the UK in 2020 and 2021
  • Raising awareness of the cruelty of traps & snares to hundreds of people at the REVIVE National Conferences
  • Releasing our 2019 joint report, ‘Untold Suffering’, with the League Against Cruel Sports and Revive. The report details the suffering of untold thousands of animals across Scotland’s driven grouse moors and has been promoted by TV presenter and naturalist Chris Packham. 
  • Our patron Chris Packham promoting our 'Untold Suffering' report during a Twitter livestream.
  • The Scottish Parliament passing our 2019 parliamentary petition calling for an end to the killings of Scotland’s wildlife through to the Scottish Government for consideration. It was subsequently closed after the Scottish Government announced it would indeed be reviewing traps and snares.