David Stewart MSP

Snaring guidelines fly in the face of public opinion

04 December 2008

Highlands and Islands Regional Labour MSP David Stewart is renewing his call for the Scottish Government to support a full ban on snaring. His call follows the recent publication of a leaflet which supports the practice continuing.

The leaflet, ‘Snaring in Scotland – a Practitioners’ Guide’ issued by various countryside groups claims ‘to provide advice on using snaring methods which are humane, legal and carried out in accordance with best practice and with respect for other countryside users.’

Mr Stewart commented: “I am still receiving communications from constituents campaigning to end snaring.

“This follows the government failing to take the opportunity to ban this practice earlier this year in the Scottish Parliament.

“The Rural Affairs and Environment Minister, writing in the guide describes it as ‘a significant step along the way to eliminating improper use of snares’.

“He goes on to say that ‘snaring is a legitimate form of pest control.’

“The concern my constituents have is that it is cruel and barbaric and there are alternative pest control methods.

“The body of opinion against snaring continues to grow and only last month, a public opinion poll, showed that support on a ban has now grown to 79%.

“The practitioner’s guide contains a legal summary highlighting requirements associated with setting snares.

“This includes the need to inspect, or cause to be inspected, snares at least once a day at intervals of no more than 24 hours.

“This requirement of the Wildlife and Countryside Act could hardly be more difficult to police and will mask significant failures to obey the law going undetected.

“The difficulties in terms of bringing a prosecution and the enforcement issues are obvious.

“The guide also advises practitioners to avoid setting snares where the tracks of ‘non-target species’ are found.

“How can this be policed?

“Even if these are seen it does not mean such an animal will not get caught in a snare.

“The indiscriminate nature of snaring and the lingering death a trapped animal suffers is what concerns people and, having recently received graphic photos from a concerned individual of animals caught in snares, the concerns people have are legitimate.

“I have lodged parliamentary questions asking how many people have been convicted of failing to inspect snares within the statutory period during each of the past five years; how many people the government understand to have set snares after having seen the tracks of protected species; how they are monitoring whether people who see tracks of protected species then do not set a trap; how many incidents of protected species having been trapped have been reported to them.

“A further parliamentary question asks when the government will acknowledge the overwhelming views of the wider public on snaring.

“I await the responses with interest.”

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Written by davidstewart

December 4, 2008 at 1:38 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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