Scottish Minister for Environment Roseanna Cunningham attended the launch of the latest practitioners’ guide to snaring in Scotland on Monday, September 20.

The Minister also attended part of a Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust snaring course at a Perthshire estate. As well as witnessing the thorough training involved in the course, the Minister addressed the delegates and representatives from supporting organisations who have endorsed the guide.

“Snaring in Scotland – A practitioners’ guide” was produced by the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) Scotland, the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT) and the Scottish Gamekeepers’ Association (SGA) in order to promote best practice and provide a comprehensive and simple means of keeping within the law.  The guide has been updated twice to remain abreast of changes in the law.

Snaring is expected to be one of the most controversial issues within the Wildlife and Natural Environment Bill currently at stage 1.  The Bill is proposing that all who use snares will have to have been trained and accredited.  Practitioners maintain it is an essential tool for protecting crops, livestock and endangered species which has been thoroughly tested to be effective, humane and legal if carried out in accordance with best practice and with respect for other countryside users.

Minister for Environment, Roseanna Cunningham, said: "There has been considerable controversy over the continuing use of snares in Scotland and this Government has taken the view that, in certain instances, their use remains necessary as a means of pest control.
"This guide takes into account changes to snaring legislation which are designed to address animal welfare issues and ensure a professional approach to setting and checking snares. 
"We will continue to closely monitor the use of snares and the progress of the industry in ensuring that all those who use them are properly trained.   I commend all those involved in working together on this guide and associated courses in the interests of Scotland’s countryside, wildlife management, and rural communities."

Colin Shedden, Director of BASC Scotland, said: “The guide and accreditation course are now essential for all snaring practitioners in Scotland.  Both promote best practice but also communicate what the current legal responsibilities are. To date 730 individuals have successfully completed the accreditation course which shows the willingness of those who live and work in the country to comply with the law and improve welfare standards in pest control.”

Hugo Straker, GWCT senior advisor and course tutor said: “We cannot stress enough that fox and rabbit control in Scotland is necessary to ensure that damage to crops, livestock, trees, game and other wildlife and their habitats can be reduced to acceptable levels to maintain Scotland’s unique rural biodiversity. Snaring is a vital tool to achieve these ends in Scotland due to diverse landscape and types of cover.
“We are delighted that the Minister attended the launch of the updated practitioners’ guide and observed delegates undergoing our specially tailored snaring course.”  ENDS

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