I understand the strength of your feeling on this issue and would like to clarify the situation. Animals are protected from unnecessary suffering under the Animal Welfare Act 2006, and this includes any caught in snares. Whilst self-locking snares have been banned since 1981, but the use of free-running snares is permitted. The use of snares has become more prevalent since the introduction of the foxhunting ban has seen a proliferation in the fox population. Foxes still threaten farmers’ livestock and so still needed to be dispatched. The snares are designed to hold the foxes in place so that they can be humanely dispatched. However, unlike foxhunting, snares are indiscriminate in the animals they can affect.
In 2008 the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs commissioned research to determine the extent of the use and humaneness of snares in England and Wales. This was published in March 2012. After considering its findings Lord de Mauley, who was at the time the Minister responsible for policy on wildlife management, held constructive meetings with people who use snares and those opposed to them. He made it clear that both sides must work together to help end irresponsible snare use.
It is encouraging that Ministers are working with these groups to agree a means of monitoring compliance, and to consider improvements to the Code of Practice on the use of snares. I hope all sides will contribute to this work so that there is a marked improvement in the use of snares.
I hope you will find this information helpful.