I understand concerns around the use of snares, which can, when used improperly, cause immense suffering to both target and non-target animals. I know that these pits are generally created to lure foxes who are then caught in snare traps.
As part of the drive to maintain our high animal welfare standards, I welcome that the Action Plan for Animal Welfare sets out the Government’s intention to launch a call for evidence on the use of snares, and ministers will consider whether changes are needed.
When practised to a high standard, and in accordance with the law, snaring can offer an effective means to reduce the harmful impacts of foxes on livestock, game and wildlife. I know that snares are commonly used in the UK to catch certain animals prior to their killing and current legislation provides strong protection for threatened species and the welfare of trapped animals. Those committing an offence can face prosecution, an unlimited fine or even a custodial sentence.
Snares are controlled in England and Wales under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. This prohibits self-locking snares and the setting of snares in places where they are likely to catch certain non-target animals such as badgers.
The Animal Welfare Act 2006 prohibits causing unnecessary suffering to animals, which includes animals caught in traps. Trapped animals should be released from a snare trap as soon as reasonably practicable after discovery. If, however, you believe an individual is inflicting unnecessary suffering on animals, the matter should be reported to the police.