Guest post written by the Hunt Investigation Team (HIT), a highly skilled, specialist team with years of experience investigating and fighting animal abuse. HIT has been leading calls for the banning of snares and are working with a range of individuals and organisations to raise public awareness of the use of snares by the shooting industry,
Government Call for Evidence on Snaring
The government has announced it will launch a public call for evidence on the use of snares (gov.uk/government/publications/action-plan-for-animal-welfare/). This is in response to sustained campaigning in recent years from groups such as the National Anti-Snaring Campaign (NASC – antisnaring.org.uk), the Hunt Investigation Team (huntinvestigationteam.org/) and Moorland Monitors (moorlandmonitors.org). The campaign has most recently been unified by Animal Aid (animalaid.org.uk/snares) – as publicised in The Mirror (mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/call-cruel-snares-tortured-cats-24121383/).
Snares are routinely used throughout the UK but members of the public often don’t know the scale of the cruelty they inflict. Snares are thin wire nooses, set by famers and gamekeepers to catch mammals such as foxes and rabbits. Snares are a very old form of “pest control” – a phrase and practice which is massively outdated today.
Snares are crude trapping devices that do not distinguish what species will get caught. Any animal – wild, farmed or domestic – can be caught in them. In recent weeks NASC received two reports of cats caught and killed in snares. HIT and NASC have also documented numerous badgers caught and killed or injured in snares – despite badgers having (in theory) legal protection. Lambs are also frequently found trapped. The problem with snares is that they are indiscriminate – and therefore no animal is safe.
Snares also cause catastrophic injuries to their victim. The official code of practice sets out guidance which purports to minimise the risk of injury. However, animals routinely suffer vicious injuries and painful deaths as a result of being snares (huntinvestigationteam.org/snareaware-2/)
Snares are causing suffering and death on farmland and shooting estates up and down the country. Often, reports circulate in local news and on social media – we need YOUR HELP to compile them to submit as evidence in the government’s call for information.
We need to show the carnage in our countryside, caused by cruel snares. We need to advocate for the animals, killed and injured in the traps. We need to fight for a ban on these outdated devices.
Please monitor your local area. Whether farmland, shooting estates, country parks or even allotments – snares are used widely. Snare users target the natural paths which animals use routinely. Therefore, snares are commonly placed on animal runs: look for distinct channels through the undergrowth. They are also often found in the immediate vicinity of badger setts (which is illegal) so be sure to check around sett entrances and on badger runs. They are used (against the code of practice) in hedgerows and along fence lines frequented by foxes. They may also be used with stink pits (piles of carcasses, left out to attract predators).
On pheasant shooting estates, snares may be concentrated around pheasant pens. On grouse moors, they will often be used on the “moorland fringe” – see this webpage for invaluable info. Around allotments and country parks, check fence lines, gate posts and boundaries, which animals use to get around their territory.
- For more information on locating snares, please go to NASC’s How to Find Snares and HIT’s Grouse Moor Info. Please share with your family, friends and colleagues and ask them to be alert and to share any reports.
- Please pass on any reports you see online – Facebook groups for dog walkers, ramblers, allotment holders and so on can all be useful sources. Similarly, local newspapers and websites often run stories of local pets being trapped.
- Please share your reports with HIT now (huntinvestigationteam.org/contact/) and the government in due course.
- And remember to sign the petition: Make the use of free-running snares illegal for trapping wildlife
We can help create a safer future for wildlife, farmed animals and pets by banning snares. Help us consign them to history.
We need to rid the countryside of snares. As well as reporting snares to HIT we can inform ourselves and then talk to family and friends. Explain that snares are still being allowed in the UK to support the shooting industry, and that the shooting industry itself is partly responsible for creating ‘the problem’ (eg foxes) they claim needs ‘managing’ with snares. That the so-called ‘welfare considerations’ put in place by the shooting industry don’t reflect real-life scenarios or how wild animals behave in traps.
That, yes, snares are indeed legal but that any society that wants to claim it has compassion and kindness, a love for animals, and a genuine desire for animal welfare wouldn’t allow them anywhere near our countryside or our wildlife.
HIT work incredibly hard on articles like these. The Team are largely self-funded, but do have a Go Fund Me page set up where we can donate to support their work. They are an incredibly motivated group of people who deserve huge credit for what they do – and any small amount we can spare to support them will be gratefully received!
- Please go to Go Fund Me: Hunt Investigation Team
For further information on snares please visit and support:
- National Anti-snaring Campaign (an animal welfare organisation that campaigns against the sale and manufacture of animal snares in the UK)
- Snarewatch (an information-sharing and reporting facility about snaring in the UK)