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Scottish Parliament debate highlights support for snare ban among MSPs

Scottish Parliament debate highlights support for snare ban among MSPs

The League Against Cruel Sports Scotland and OneKind have welcomed cross party support from MSPs to ban snares following a Scottish Parliament debate on the issue.  

Today’s (Thursday) members’ debate sponsored by South Scotland Labour MSP, Colin Smyth gave members the opportunity to discuss the recent Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) report, Review of Snaring for the Scottish Government.

The review, commissioned by the Scottish Government and carried out by SNH, was published in March. Both the League and OneKind branded the findings a wasted opportunity, criticising the limited scope of the review. SNH was tasked with examining the impact of the regulations, introduced under the Wildlife and Natural Environment (Scotland) Act 2011.

The limited remit of the review meant consideration of a ban on snaring was not included in the research, which both the League Scotland and OneKind say was flawed from the outset. Both charities want to see snaring banned in Scotland on animal welfare and ethical grounds. Today this point was debated in Parliament with five of the eight speakers voicing their support for an outright ban on snares in Scotland.

The snaring debate was sponsored by Labour member for South Scotland Colin Smyth MSP, commenting on the debate he said: “Snaring is cruel and indiscriminate and has no place in modern Scotland.  It is six years since the Scottish Parliament last debated the use of snares and in my view made the wrong decision in not banning the practise. The debate was a timely opportunity to put the issue back on the agenda of Government and Parliament and to highlight how fundamentally flawed the recent review by Scottish Natural Heritage on behalf of the Scottish Government was. By looking in a limited way at the new regulatory regime and only paying lip service to the issue of animal welfare it was a missed opportunity.

“I was delighted that so many members from across Parliament backed my motion and spoke out in the debate against this barbaric act.  You cannot regulate cruelty and I hope that the Scottish Government will now take this as an opportunity to conduct a further, more thorough review into all aspects of snaring in Scotland and ultimately we will see snaring banned sooner rather than later.”

Cabinet Secretary for the Environment, Roseanna Cunningham MSP concluded the debate by reinforcing the view of the Scottish Government on the need to control pests and predators in Scotland. She stated that “Sometimes snaring is the least bad option”. The Cabinet Secretary also committed to implementing a voluntary ban on the snaring of brown hares telling Parliament the Scottish Government would seek guidance on welfare impacts of snaring on the species in line with SNH recommendations that snaring of mountain hares had negative welfare implications. She also said the use of stink pits to attract animals into snares would be reviewed.

Robbie Marsland, Director of the League Against Cruel Sports, Scotland said: “We are hugely encouraged to see MSPs having an open and frank discussion about the continued use of snares in Scotland.

“Stringent regulations introduced over five years ago have failed to put a stop to the needless suffering of animals trapped in snares, proving that regulations are not a workable solution and are simply a way of tinkering with cruelty.

“Despite reluctance from the Scottish Government to go beyond a regulatory approach to snaring, a number of MSPs today recognised the urgent need for a ban and we would urge them to use their powers to introduce legislation which ban the manufacture, sale, possession and use of all snares once and for all.”

Harry Huyton, Director of OneKind added: “A ban on snaring is overwhelmingly supported by the Scottish public, many of whom are appalled these cruel and indiscriminate traps continue to be used legally to trap and kill wild animals in Scotland.

“OneKind has campaigned tirelessly for many years to see an end to snaring and despite a number of opportunities the Scottish Government has failed to take the common sense approach. Today’s debate shows the issue will not go away until these primitive and outdated traps are finally made illegal in Scotland.

“We are pleased with the recommendations made today by the Cabinet Secretary but these alone are not enough to end the welfare problems associated with snaring. We’re grateful to all MSPs who contributed to the debate and we will continue to work with all parties to progress towards a complete ban to prevent severe animal suffering.”

The League Against Cruel Sports Scotland and OneKind have worked together for almost a decade to expose the cruelty of snare use in Scotland developing considerable knowledge and expertise regarding the welfare of wild animals and impact of these primitive, indiscriminate traps over this time.