Oakey the badger died from snare wounds. Image via Mid Derbyshire Badger group

Another badger dies after being caught in snare

Yet another badger has died after becoming trapped in a snare. This needless death is a reminder that whatever the result of the election on 4 July, the new government MUST make all snares illegal.

The badger was found in a garden in Belper, Derbyshire, on 10 June, having struggled a short distance from where he was caught. Mid Derbyshire Badger Group attended the scene. The BBC reported that the animal was “crying in pain and wrapped in wire”.

The group named the badger Oakey, and volunteers tried their utmost to save him. Tragically, Oakey had to be put to sleep because of the extent of his wounds. The group stated:

“It would have taken several surgeries with little guarantee of success, and the vet’s decision was that the kindest course of action would be to put him to sleep.”

Snares are used by gamekeepers on shooting estates in a cruel and crude attempt to protect birds from predators such as foxes. These birds are bred to be killed by humans with a bloodlust for gunning them down. Estimates suggest that as many as 1.7 million animals are caught in snares across the UK every year.


Oakey the badger was found in a garden in Belper. He later died because of severe injuries. Photo by Mid Derbyshire Badger Group
Oakey the badger was found in a garden in Belper. He later died because of severe injuries. Photo by Mid Derbyshire Badger Group

England is far behind

Protect the Wild spoke to the Mid Derbyshire Badger Group’s Clare Ward, who told us:

“All snares should be banned. We’ve witnessed firsthand the suffering these animals endure from this barbaric practice.”

Unlike Wales and Scotland, England hasn’t yet made snares illegal. The Welsh Senedd agreed to pass the Agriculture (Wales) Bill  – which includes a blanket ban on the use of snares and glue traps – back in June 2023.

Welsh Rural Affairs minister Leslie Griffiths said of the ban:

“We strive for the very highest standards of animal welfare in Wales, and the use of snares and glue traps are incompatible with what we want to achieve.

Many animals will now be spared the most terrible suffering as a result of this ban. I’m proud Wales is the first of the UK nations to introduce such a move.”


Dead badger with snare wrapped around his neck
This badger died a horrific death after being caught in a snare. Photo by North East Essex Badger Group


Scotland followed suit less than a year later. Its Wildlife Management and Muirburn Bill passed in March 2024. The new Act banned glue traps, as well as snares. Prior to the bans, the shooting industry had been lobbying hard for each country to allow the use of “humane cable restraints”, which the industry argued were less harmful. Luckily, neither Holyrood or the Senedd were fooled, and passed blanket bans without exceptions.

As for England, in January 2023, MPs were forced to debate the use of snares after an Animal Aid petition gathered 102,616 signatures. But as Protect the Wild previously reported, the debate was in name only, with politicians keen to maintain the status quo and protect shooting industry interests.

Fast-forward to June 2024, and there was at least some positive news when a ban on glue traps passed back in 2022 took a major step towards coming into force. Protect the Wild’s Charlie Moores wrote:

“In England, the Glue Traps (Offences) Act 2022 (originally introduced as a Private Member’s Bill by Jane Stevenson MP on 16 June 2021) banned the use of glue traps but gave users and suppliers of glue traps two years in which to finish off their existing stock and move to alternatives. In the same period a licencing scheme was developed which was finally announced by Natural England and the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs on 19 June. From 31 July 2024 it will be against the law in England to use glue traps to catch rodents, unless an operator has a licence issued by Natural England.”

Hopes for a snare ban

As we previously covered in another article, the impending change of government may just give wild animals a break. Labour has stated in its manifesto that it will end the use of snare traps in England, while unsurprisingly, the Tories say nothing in their 80-page manifesto about banning snares (nor do the Lib Dems or Reform).

If and when Labour gets into power, it will be down to all of us to put pressure on the party to deliver its promises – that is, to ban snares, close hunting loopholes, and end the badger cull. It is an absolute tragedy that in England in 2024 badgers are still at risk from all three: trapped in snares banned elsewhere, their setts illegally blocked by terriermen for the hunts they serve, and tens of thousands of them set to be killed this summer in the last throw of the dice by the NFU in a mean and ‘ineffective’ (to quote the Labour manifesto) cull.

  • You can support Mid Derbyshire Badger Group, which tried desperately to save Oakey. See here to donate via the group’s PayPal. Featured image via Mid Derbyshire Badger Group.