Scottish snaring ban would be “catastrophic” for threatened species

A capercaillie

A decision by the Scottish government to ban the use of snares would prove catastrophic to threatened bird species in the country, including the iconic capercaillie.

BASC Scotland put forward proposals for the retention of modern snares as part of the Scottish government’s recent consultation on an outright ban on snares in Scotland.

In a letter seen by BASC today (9 November), environment minister Gillian Martin said she would be proposing a full ban on snares without the inclusion of a licensing system. Her decision would need to be voted on by the Scottish parliament and comes despite a full draft licensing scheme being produced by a range of rural stakeholders.

Just yesterday, the Rural Affairs and Islands Committee hosted a session on the use of snares in Scotland. BASC’s head of game and wildlife management, Glynn Evans, gave evidence on usage and the importance of snares as a conservation tool.

Peter Clark, BASC Scotland director, said: “The Minister’s proposal clearly shows the Scottish government’s direction of travel on this and the ban appears to be a foregone conclusion. It would be a catastrophic blow to all threatened bird species and predator control across Scotland.

“Gamekeepers’ and practitioners’ evidence has been ignored, and the Scottish government has not even carried out an impact assessment on biodiversity or the rural economy ahead of this ban.

“Yet again we see decisions being made without full consideration of genuine and well-evidenced concerns of practitioners.

“The Scottish government has fundamentally ignored the evidence and if the Scottish parliament votes this through, it will have abandoned its responsibility to reverse the fortunes of Scotland’s iconic threatened species, such as the capercaillie.”

For more information on the use of snares and best practice guidance, head to our information page here.