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Wales rural affairs minister Lesley Griffiths announes the Agriculture Bill including a ban on snares has passed

GOOD NEWS: Wales bans snares

Wales has banned snares. It is the first country in the UK to do so, and campaigners say the decision puts pressure on the rest of the Britain to follow suit.

The Welsh Senedd unanimously agreed to pass the Agriculture (Wales) Bill on 27 June. The broad bill covers a range of measures related to farming, and amongst them was a blanket ban on snares and glue traps. Welsh rural affairs minister Lesley Griffiths said of the new legislation:

“A complete ban on the inhumane use of glue traps and snares is included in the Bill and means we will become the first nation in the UK to introduce such a ban.”

The news from Wales was greeted with joy by animal welfare and rights groups. Rob Pownall of Protect the Wild said:

“It always feels odd to have to be celebrating something like this in 2023 but progress is still progress. We’re delighted that Wales has taken the lead on this and hopefully it will create a domino effect across the rest of the UK!”

Meanwhile Iain Green, director of Animal Aid, said:

“This victory in Wales is a magnificent achievement which will save thousands of animals from appalling suffering.

“The Welsh Government has acted with determination and compassion to bring an end to the use of these cruel and indiscriminate devices and is to be wholly congratulated.”

And there was plenty of celebration on social media too:

Snare ban: a historic achievement

There were attempts to water the anti-snare legislation down. MS Samuel Kurtz tried tabling an amendment during the bill’s third reading that would have permitted licensed use of ‘humane cable restraints’. These are, of course, just snares by another name.

Fortunately, MSs voted Kurtz’s amendment down, meaning the law will prohibit the use of:

“a snare or any other cable restraint for the purpose of killing or trapping a wild animal, and use of a snare or any other cable restraint in any other way that is likely to injure a wild animal”

Wildlife groups have commended this strong and broad wording, and said it places pressure on the rest of the UK to enact similar policies.

Animal Aid, for example, said that:

“The next step is to make sure that this historic achievement in Wales is replicated in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.”

And Will Morton, head of public affairs at the League Against Cruel Sports, said:

“Wales is leading the way in protecting wildlife from cruelty and we’re calling on the UK and Scottish Governments to follow their lead and ban these brutal devices.”

Scotland is currently looking at anti-snare legislation. The Scottish Animal Welfare Commission (SAWC) had recommended a blanket ban similar to the Welsh law back in December 2022. The Wildlife Management and Muirburn (Scotland) Bill, introduced in March, is currently at its first stage. While the bill as introduced doesn’t contain legislation on snares, accompanying policy notes said the government “intends to introduce provisions on snaring at Stage 2”.

Frustratingly, neither Westminster nor Stormont have shown any interest in considering legislation on snare use at the time of publishing.

Snares

We know it can be done

The shooting lobby has been surprisingly quiet about the news. At the time of publishing none of the major groups including the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC), the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust, or the Countryside Alliance had made statements on their websites on social media pages. However, the BASC had previously branded the snare ban “disastrous for threatened wildlife” – something that time will show to be exaggerated rhetoric or not.

Regardless, we know and all kind people know that snares are wildly cruel. Not only to their intended targets such as foxes, but also to ‘non-target species’ such as cats, dogs and badgers. Wales has shown that compassionate and sensible legislation can be passed, Now it’s time to push the UK government to do the same.

If you are in England, Scotland or northern Ireland, please write to your MP and ask them to support measures that follow in Wales’s lead.

Featured image via Senedd.tv