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SNARES

Snares have been used for thousands of years to trap animals. A fairly simple but inherently cruel design, snares are essentially a loop set along a trail or suspended from a branch or small tree which catches an animal by the neck or leg as they walk into it. As the animal continues to move forward or struggles to get free, the loop pulls tight. If the snare is strong enough (so doesn’t snap) or can’t be dragged away, the animal will suffocate, their neck will dislocate, or they will be held where they were caught and then beaten to death or shot.

Snares – mostly now made from thin steel wire rather than plant fibres – are still widely used around the world. They’re cheap to make, easy to use, light to carry, quickly replaced, and far quieter than a rifle (so won’t alert police, or forest or park rangers, when committing wildlife crime).

They are basically a low-cost, low-skilled way to kill (or maim/injure) wildlife.

2014
In 2014 a poll found that 77% of the British public thought that snares should be illegal (Ipsos MORI, 2014), and in 2015 68% of MPs also supported a ban.
2014
2016
In 2016 a Care2 petition, ‘Tell Scottish Government to Ban Fox Snares‘, attracted nearly 270,000 signatures.
2016
2019
In late 2019, Revive – the coalition for grouse moor reform – published a damning report called ‘Untold Suffering’ which documented ‘the extent to which animals are being killed and subjected to negative welfare impacts to ensure grouse stocks are kept artificially high to be shot for entertainment’.
2019
2022
In 2022 Animal Aid secured a government debate after its petition to ban the manufacture, use, and sale of snares secured over 100,000 signatures. Protect the Wild attended and described it as a “debate in name only” as Westminster's shooting supporters appeared to have little interest in following their devolved counterparts, but a shift in momentum towards a ban was still clear.
2022
Jan 2023
In January 2023 the Welsh Senned announced it was carrying forwards a plan to prohibit the use of snares (they had previously come close to banning snares in 2017 but caved into shooting industry pressure and opted instead for further reviews and assurances that snares would be used 'legally from now on').
Jan 2023
April 2023
In April 2023 OneKind released SnareWatch Annual Report 2022: Case studies of snare use in the UK, which highlighted some of the worst snaring, or suspected snaring, incidents in the UK during 2022.
April 2023
June 2023
In June 2023 the Welsh Senned voted overwhelmingly to ban snare use, making it the first country in the UK to fully ban snares.
June 2023
August 2023
In August 2023 the Scottish Government began a six week online consultation on banning snares, saying that "Snares can cause significant injury, prolonged suffering and death to wildlife".
August 2023
Nov 2023
In mid-November 2023 Scotland's Environment Minister confirmed that a FULL BAN on the use of snares would be included in the upcoming Wildlife Management and Muirburn (Scotland) Bill.
Nov 2023

Stink pits

Snares and the Law

Snares Petition

Protect the Wild wants a full ban on snares

Now that we know about snares, we need to talk to family and friends about them.

  • Explain that snares are banned across most of Europe but are still allowed in parts of the UK because the shooting industry wants them
  • Explain that the shooting industry is partly responsible for creating ‘the problem’ they claim needs ‘managing’ with snares.  The industry actually supports predator populations by releasing millions of birds in to the countryside every year.
  • That the so-called ‘welfare considerations’ put in place by the shooting industry don’t reflect real-life scenarios and certainly not how wild animals behave when they’re caught in traps.