THE Scottish Government plans to ban the use of snare traps – with the move welcomed by wildlife campaigners including Chris Packham.

The measure is being proposed as part of a consultation on the upcoming Wildlife Management and Muirburn (Scotland) bill.

A snare uses a loop of wire to trap an animal.

The National:

Wildlife TV presenter and conservationist Packham called the use of the traps cruel and supported the Scottish Government's stance on banning the practice – while calling on the UK Government to do more.

There currently are 1906 registered Snaring licenses in Scotland, often being used by employees in the shooting industry to protect grouse and pheasant habitats from foxes.

However, they are often criticised by conservation charities for unintentionally killing other wildlife.

Packham said: “What excellent news, and a potential win for wildlife, today. These torture devices ought to have been banned a long time ago and I’m glad that the Scottish Government has finally recognised snares for the unacceptably cruel traps that they are.

“Snares inflict so much suffering on wild animals and so I’m delighted that both the Scottish Government and the Welsh Government have taken a stand against snares. The UK Government must not lag behind.’”

The move has also been welcomed by Mark Ruskell MSP (below), the Scottish Greens environment spokesperson.

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He said: “Trapping animals in snares is cruel, barbaric and needs to end. There is simply no excuse for this to still be happening in a modern Scotland.

“Scotland is a nation of animal lovers, with an abundance of wildlife we can marvel at amid some of the most spectacular scenery in the world. It is for all of us to ensure this is protected against those who would seek to degrade or abuse it.”

The Scottish Government consultation runs until October 23.

Edinburgh-based animal welfare charity OneKind also welcomed the Government’s proposal, arguing that snares fail to discriminate, often killing or injuring a wide range of non-target species including deer, badgers, lambs and companion animals, such as cats and dogs.

Bob Elliot, OneKind director, said: “We are delighted that today the Scottish Government has finally announced its intention to consign snares to Scotland’s history books.

“The regulation of snares has failed to protect animals from the extreme physical and mental suffering caused by these archaic devices.

“Furthermore, 76% of the Scottish public support a snaring ban on the use and sale of snares. We are pleased that the Scottish Government has listened to the voices of Scotland’s people.

“Nothing short of a full ban will put an end to the suffering inflicted by snares. We urge the Scottish Government to make this ban watertight and not consider any exceptions to it.

“OneKind has campaigned for decades for a full ban on snares in Scotland. Indeed, late last year, we marched down Edinburgh’s Royal Mile and rallied outside Parliament with hundreds of supporters, like-minded organisations and MSPs to call on the Scottish Government to introduce a snaring and real foxhunting ban.

“Now we have a commitment to ban the use of snares and legislation to end the ‘sport’ of foxhunting in Scotland.”

Earlier this year the Scottish Government, passed the Hunting with Dogs Bill introducing a two-dog limit on organised fox hunting as well as a ban on the practice of trail hunting.

To respond to the consultation on snare traps, click here.