The Welsh Senedd has just approved a ban on snares without amendments

The Welsh Senedd has held its third stage reading of the Agriculture Bill. This proposed legislation, amongst other things, contains a section on the use of snares. And despite attempts to water down restrictions, the ban has continued unabated.

On 16 May, Wales’s Economy, Trade, and Rural Affairs Committee held the Stage 3 reading of the Agriculture (Wales) Bill. This is pretty much the last stage at which MSs can change or amend the wording of a bill before the Senedd votes on it.

Anti-animal cruelty advocates, therefore, celebrated its passing without amendments to Section 43 of the bill, which bans the setting or use of the “snare, or other cable restraint”:

Responding to the news, Protect the Wild’s CEO and founder Rob Pownall said:

“Protect the Wild welcomes this common sense vote. We have pointed out many times that snares are cruel and indiscriminate and are now largely used solely by the shooting industry to ‘protect’ birds long enough for them to be shot for ‘fun’. There is no justification for their continued use, they are banned across most of Europe, and they now need to be banned here in England too.”

Stage 4 was initially planned for 23 May, but at the time of publishing was postponed with no replacement date available.


Snares are cruel devices that harm not only the foxes they are set to trap, but a range of other animals as well. Badgers are the most commonly reported non-target species found in snares. However, they catch plenty of other creatures including cats and dogs.

One example of the horror of snares is seen in Hunt Investigation Team’s (HIT) exposé of Pembrokeshire fur trapper David Sneade. Though fur farming is illegal in the UK, Sneade used snares to trap and kill wild foxes. The impact of HIT’s investigation was far-reaching. Multiple national news media outlets including the BBC, Independent and Daily Mail covered the story.

A fox caught in a snare by Welsh fur trapper David Sneade.
A fox caught in a snare by Welsh fur trapper David Sneade, via Hunt Investigation Team.

Clear majority against snares

As Protect the Wild previously outlined, a “clear majority” of the Committee overseeing the bill support the legislation’s original wording. However, that didn’t stop an attempt to try and water it down.

Samuel Kurtz tabled Amendment 46 on 5 May asking for an exception in the bill. This would have permitted the licensing of so-called ‘humane cable restraints’. Of course, these are just snares by another name. Kurtz himself is a director of the Welsh Federation of Young Farmers Clubs, having previously been chair of his local Young Farmers Club.

Ultimately, the committee’s votes showed that there was indeed a majority against permitting the use of snares. Just 14 MSs voted for Kurtz’s amendment, whilst 38 voted against. This was split entirely down party lines, with all 14 votes for the amendment coming from Tory MSs.

We owe it to all animals

Responding to the news, HIT told Protect the Wild:

“An outright ban is the only way to ensure that animals are safe from these unregulated, indiscriminate and cruel devices.”

Meanwhile, in a press statement, Animal Aid director Iain Green said:

“We are delighted that the Welsh Government is leading the way on banning snares. These cruel, outdated traps cause hideous suffering and death to animals and are entirely indiscriminate.”

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

“Wales is leading the way in animal welfare by being the first country to ban these cruel and indiscriminate traps.”

A dead black cat and red fox are laid next to each other in melting snow. These were found by runner Paul Carmen near Bolton Abbey. Snares were nearby.
Dead cat and fox found at Bolton Abbey with snares nearby, via Paul Carmen.

As both of these highlight, Wales will likely be the first nation in the UK to pass a snare ban. Scotland is following in its footsteps, with the issue already passing through parliament. England, though, is miles behind. It’s not that the issue isn’t on Westminster’s radar – it is actively hostile to the idea of anti-snare legislation, as its debate on the topic in January showed.

However, we owe it to wildlife and domestic animals that are cruelly caught and killed by snares every week to push for change across the whole of the UK. And Wales’s example shows that change is possible.

Read more about legislation and what to do if you find a snare at our Snares and the Law page.

Featured image via National Gamekeepers Organisation Official Channel/YouTube

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