Parliament hears how ‘Snares are cruel—no ifs, no buts’

Posted on the 10th January 2023

For the second time, the topic of banning snares has been debated in Westminster. On 9th January 2023, MPs gathered in Westminster Hall to discuss the future of free-running snares, which are mostly used by gamekeepers to catch and then kill wildlife.

The debate was well attended, with cross-party support for a ban on snares. Those speaking in support of the ban included MPs Ruth Jones, Margaret Ferrier, Olivia Blake, Tracey Crouch, Rachael Maskell and Patricia Gibson. All spoke passionately about the unimaginable suffering endured by animals in snares, and the indiscriminate nature of snares which often trap unintended victims such as cats, dogs and badgers.

MP Margaret Ferrier, speaking of the use of snares stated ‘Their use should not be seen as necessary—they absolutely are not necessary.’ She also highlighted the British Veterinary Association’s opposition to snares.

Rachael Maskell MP also spoke robustly on the issue saying ‘Snares are cruel—no ifs, no buts’. She went on to state ‘Wales is getting on with the job and legislating. Scotland was consulting and just before Christmas announced that it will proceed with a ban. That is the direction we must follow. Across the EU, there are only four countries left without a ban on snares. We must not be left behind in an archaic age where man thinks he has a right to go and hunt and enjoy the game and sport.’

Snares were described as ‘indiscriminate and universally cruel’ by Olivia Blake MP and Tracey Crouch MP said ‘it is my very strong view that there is no need for snares at all. There is no justification for them. They are old-school methods of pest control that have no place in a modern society.’

The debate took place as a result of a government petition , started by Jessamy Korotoga, Head of Campaigns at Animal Aid, which garnered 102,616 signatures. The petition called on the government to ‘Make the use of free-running snares illegal for trapping wildlife’.

In addition to the support of more than 100,000 people, the government petition was also backed by a huge range of animal protection and rescue organisations including Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, the Cats Trust, the Badger Trust – as well as notable personalities such as Chris Packham, Peter Egan and Deborah Meaden.

During the debate, Defra’s Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Trudy Harrison MP, stated that she was “keen to understand how my counterparts in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are protecting wildlife”. Animal Aid has written to Ms Harrison to request an urgent meeting, in order to put to her the case for a total ban on snares.

Following the debate, Animal Aid’s Director, Iain Green said:
‘How much longer do we have to wait for a ban on these disgusting implements of torture? Westminster must follow the lead of the Welsh Government and act to ensure that snares are banned. Snares trap and kill an estimated 1.7 million innocent animals every year and leave countless infant animals to freeze or starve to death because their parents cannot return to care for them. The public want them banned, MPs want them banned and animal protection groups want them banned. For the sake of the animals, we need to make this happen.’


Notes for Editors:

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