Countryside Alliance Scottish Director responds to misleading article about snaring in Scotland

 Scottish Director Jamie Stewart has responded to a highly misleading article published by the League Against Cruel Sport (LACS) in the Holyrood magazine.

 Earlier this week, Jennifer Dunn, Senior Public Affairs Officer for Scotland at LACS published an article in the magazine calling for new legislation to ban the use of snares in Scotland. The article was light on facts and heavy of ill-informed opinions: Snares: Hidden cruelty in the Scottish countryside

 Commenting on the article, Liam Stokes, from the Countryside Alliance said:

“Clearly following the criticism that has been directed at LACS following their petition to ban snaring in Wales, which was centred on a number of factual inaccuracies, their response has been to produce a comment piece  that contains no facts whatsoever.

“Whilst glad that the League are not alleging that over three times the population of Scottish mammals are being snared in Scotland every year, as they claimed in Wales: When it comes to online petitions, facts should speak louder than clicks. Sadly, they don’t , I would much rather the League use some accurate facts as opposed to none at all, which appears to be their new approach to this debate.”

In response to the LACS article Scottish Director, Jamie Stewart, requested a right of reply but was informed that this would not be possible due to LACS having paid to publish the article.

Here is Jamie Stewart’s response:

“Sir I write in response to Jennifer Dunn’s article Snares: Hidden cruelty in the Scottish countryside

First published on 14th November 2016

“Miss Dunn displays an alarmingly poor knowledge of Scottish wildlife legislation for someone in her position but then when did the truth ever get in the way of a League Against Cruel sports report.

“The Scottish Government recognise 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. As such the Scottish Government has worked with stakeholders to produce and endorse Snaring in Scotland a practitioners guide.

“Under the Wildlife and Natural Environment Act there is a legal obligation for anyone wishing to set a snare to sit the Scottish Government approved training course. Successful candidates are awarded a certificate, which must then be presented in person to the local police who in turn will issue the individual with a unique ID number. It has been illegal to set a fox or rabbit snare since 1st April 2013 without the operator’s ID number attached.  

“Miss Dunn does recognise that snares set to catch foxes or rabbits are restraining devices but clearly doesn’t understand or wishes to misinterpret what that actually means. Snares are legally required to be free running (not self-locking) and must contain a safety stop fixed at a minimum of 23cm (9”) from the running end of the snare to prevent closure. It is physically impossible for legally set modern snare to inflict the damage Miss Dunn states.

“Research has concluded that when a wild animal is confined within a snare that after a short period of time the animal will stop struggling with many observed sleeping or eating whilst restrained. Further to this, the law requires that the snare be checked at least once every day at intervals of no more than 24 hours to allow the humane dispatch of the captive target animal or the release of any non-target animal.

“The rhetoric of the League Against Cruel Sports doesn’t surprise as much as the publication of such a poorly informed article. The Scottish Countryside Alliance are more than happy to facilitate the journal access to practitioners should you wish to revisit the article with an informed opinion.”

Jamie Stewart, Director, Scottish Countryside Alliance