Representatives from Northern Ireland’s two main countryside organisations, the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) and Countryside Alliance Ireland (CAI), met with NI Environment Minister Mark H Durkan at Stormont. The meeting follows the Minister’s controversial decision not to introduce the draft Snares Order (Northern Ireland) to the NI Assembly in the latter part of 2015. The draft order had been produced by Department officials working in partnership with BASC and CAI back in May 2013.
Speaking after the meeting BASC NI director Tommy Mayne said: “BASC is grateful for the opportunity to meet with the Minister and his officials to discuss his decision. We briefed the Minister on the importance and effectiveness of snares, which are a valuable countryside management tool used by farmers, gamekeepers and land managers to prevent predation by foxes. We also highlighted the fact that a snare is a restraining device, its purpose being to hold the fox to allow humane dispatch.
“Those opposed to the use of snares have publicly stated that snares cause horrific injuries to thousands of animals each year in Northern Ireland. However BASC has been in contact with both the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) and the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) and neither can produce any evidence to support such a claim. Given the lack of evidence, we highlighted the fact that any attempt to further regulate the use of snares in NI would be contrary to the principles of better regulation. BASC thanks Robert Crofts (BASC NI Committee member) for his continued support on this issue.”
Speaking after the meeting Ashley Graham of Countryside Alliance Ireland said: “We were delighted to meet with the Minister and his officials and to reiterate the need for the use of snares in the countryside. Having worked with Departmental officials since 2011 on The Snares Order (Northern Ireland) 2015, we hope common sense will prevail and we urge the Minister to introduce it as soon as possible.”
Pictured (left to right): Gamekeeper & BASC NI Committee member Robert Crofts, Ashley Graham (Countryside Alliance Ireland) Environment Minister Mark H Durkan and BASC NI director Tommy Mayne.