Following years of Countryside Alliance work in the Welsh Assembly, Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs Lesley Griffiths has signalled her commitment to continue working with the shooting community to improve snaring practice rather than legislate against snares altogether. The Cabinet Secretary had been extensively lobbied by the League Against Cruel Sports (LACS), who have used misleading statistics to petition the Assembly for an outright ban, but vigorous campaigning by the Countryside Alliance forced LACS to admit their misuse of statistics in a letter to the Environmental and Rural Affairs Committee.

In August of this year the League Against Cruel Sports lodged a petition with the Welsh Assembly calling for a ban on the sale, manufacture and use of snares. The Countryside Alliance, working with partners the National Gamekeepers Organisation and the Game and Wildlife Conservation trust, wrote to the Assembly’s Petitions Committee to point out the existence of a recently published Welsh Code of Best Practice on the Use of Snares in Fox Control and highlighted that the petition was invalid due to it being based on deeply flawed data.

The LACS petition claimed that three times as many Welsh mammals were being snared every year than actually live in Wales (link: http://www.countryside-alliance.org/facts-irrelevant-opinion-triumphs-welsh-assembly/ ).

The Environment and Rural Affairs Committee decided to look into the issue of snaring in Wales, and the Countryside Alliance has been working hard over the past few months to ensure that the misinformation being spread by LACS was countered wherever necessary. Over the years the Alliance has built uniquely strong relationships with parties and politicians in Wales, becoming a trusted source of information on rural issues. It was these relationships that allowed the Alliance to effectively counter LACS’ ideologically driven campaign against snaring, culminating in Lesley Griffiths AM not only declaring her intention to continue working with industry to promote the Code of Best Practice but also when asked whether snaring with code compliant snares can be undertaken humanely she answered “yes, absolutely”.

Rachel Evans, Countryside Alliance Director for Wales, said:

“It is only through the trust the Countryside Alliance has established with politicians in Wales that we can combat the misinformation being spread by those who want to limit wildlife management and shooting.

“We established that the statistics being used to promote the petition to ban snaring were incorrect very early on, but there has been a lot of further work to do since then to get our message out.

“We are grateful to the Cabinet Secretary for this show of support for the recently published Code of Practice and for the principle of humane snaring as a vital tool for gamekeepers, conservationists and farmers.

“It is crucial that everyone using snares in Wales adheres to the Welsh Code of Best Practice on the Use of Snares in Fox Control, a code that puts Wales at the forefront of humane snaring in the UK, and we at the Alliance will continue to promote it to all snare users.”

Lesley Griffiths, Cabinet Secretary for Environment & Rural Affairs made her comments during a meeting of the Climate Change, Environment and Rural Affairs Committee this Wednesday (14th December): http://www.senedd.tv/Meeting/Archive/97a70996-3e09-41b5-bc42-94a179dea399?autostart=True