Scottish snaring ban will spell disaster for threatened wildlife, says BASC

A fox

The Scottish government has announced a consultation on a ban on the use of snares in Scotland – a move which would damage biodiversity in Scotland and threaten endangered bird species.

As part of the Wildlife Management and Muirburn (Scotland) Bill, a consultation launched yesterday (22 August) seeks views on banning the use of all snares, including the most modern designs which meet international standards. The proposals would also extend the investigative powers of the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SSPCA) – a move which BASC has already robustly rejected.

The consultation will run for six weeks until 3 October 2023. BASC will formally respond and has organised a meeting with the Minister for Environment and Energy to make our views known. A call for members to respond will also be issued in due course.

BASC has been clear and consistent to all governments that they should not ban the modern restraining devices. Their use is essential in the protecting threatened bird species, young livestock and other conservation work.

In response to the consultation announcement, Peter Clark, BASC Scotland director said: “This is another vital tool in the biodiversity restoration and predator control toolkit which stands to be removed.

“When you couple this with the ineffective and damaging Hunting with Dogs (Scotland) Act 2023, we risk a perfect storm when it comes to protecting vulnerable bird species. Threatened species such as golden plover, lapwing and curlew will face further predation by foxes due to the lack of control options available to gamekeepers. 

“Amidst a nature crisis, it is vital gamekeepers, conservationists and land managers have the right tools to prevent over-predation and protect Scotland’s iconic species. 

“Modern code-compliant snares, which exceed international standards for such restraining devices, are the conservationist’s friend, helping to manage foxes at specific times of the year when other control methods are impractical. A well-run, targeted approach using these devices can aid breeding success, particularly of vulnerable ground-nesting birds. Remove this tool and wildlife will suffer.”

The consultation can be accessed here.