Commonly used by gamekeepers to catch foxes, rabbits and stoats, snares are thin wire nooses set to trap wild animals perceived to be a pest or threat.
The indiscriminate nature of snares means that it is not possible to control which animals are caught. As a result, livestock and domestic pets often fall victim to snares and many protected mammals such as badgers and otters have suffered terrible injuries or been killed by snares.
Animals caught in snares suffer huge stress and can sustain horrific injuries. In their desperate bid to escape, they can be disembowelled by the wire, wrench bones out of sockets and even chew through their own limbs.
It has proved to be impossible to regulate the use of snares. In 2012, DEFRA reported that no fox snare operator was compliant with the current Code of Practice guidelines.
Sign this action if you agree that the only way to ensure better welfare is a complete ban on the manufacture, sale and use of snares in England and Wales.
Dear [decision maker],
I am writing to you regarding the important issue of snares, which are still being used as a means of predator control across the UK. These traps are known for their barbaric and indiscriminate nature, but are still seen by some as humane and effective.
Snares do not meet any given standard of animal welfare and the extent of distress and suffering they cause is immeasurable. Injuries occur slowly, cruelly and painfully and commonly include disembowelment, amputation, decapitation and pressure necrosis wounds, which can remain hidden until a week later if the animal is lucky enough to be found in time.
Investigations from the League Against Cruel Sports have consistently demonstrated that the current regulations are being ignored and are not working. The 2012 Defra report also revealed that the majority of fox snare operators were not fully compliant with the current Code of Practice, despite being aware of it, further illustrating the failure of self regulation.
Two separate Defra reports have now demonstrated that snares are not target specific: the 2005 Independent Working Group on Snares suggested it was difficult to reduce the capture of non-target species below 40% and the 2012 Defra report revealed that non-target species were still being caught during field trials, despite careful adherence to the Code of Practice.
Both the League's investigative film from last year, Gunsmoke and Mirrors (1), and years of undercover investigations have shown that non-target victims comprise other wildlife, livestock and mammals such as badgers and otters that are supposedly protected by law, and domestic pets such as cats and dogs.
It should be a given right for humans with their pets and the wildlife that belongs there to be able to enjoy and live in the countryside without being threatened by these indiscriminate devices.
I urge you to bring about an end to the cruelty of snaring.
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[Your name here]
1 The film 'Gunsmoke and Mirrors' is the culmination of almost ten years of undercover work into sporting estates and the shooting industry and includes evidence of the use of snares and the unintended victims of this form of predator control https://vimeo.com/45496168