Making a mockery of the Assembly – League Against Cruel Sports ridicule research.

Welsh Assembly Members are being misled by the League Against Cruel Sports as they manipulate DEFRA-led scientific research.

The Countryside Alliance, Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT) and BASC gave evidence to the National Assembly for Wales’ Climate Change, Environment and Rural Affairs Committee on Wednesday the 30th of November on the use of fox snares in Wales and the development of the Welsh Governments Code of Best Practice on the use of snares in fox control.

Head of Shooting Campaigns Liam Stokes said: “In the course of the session Assembly Members repeated the League Against Cruel Sports figure of 1.7 million animals snared annually every year stating they came  from the Defra report ‘Determining the Extent of Use and Humaneness of Snares in England and Wales’. This is simply not true, that figure exists nowhere in that report.

“Countryside Alliance analysis found that the 1.7 million is produced by multiplying two different figures from within the report from two totally separate pieces of work. The League obtain this figure by multiplying the catch reports of one scientist researching the humaneness of snares, from Section 5 of the report, by the average number of snares being set across the whole of England and Wales, found in Section 2.

“These data sets are entirely unrelated and combining them is a ridiculous abuse of statistics, as proven by the fact that best estimates place the total number of foxes, badgers and hares in England and Wales at 1.3 million. It is impossible to snare more animals than exist in a country, and farcical to suggest this is being done every year. The League Against Cruel Sports is making a fool of Assembly Members and the Welsh Assembly by causing them to repeat these nonsense statistics.”

The Countryside Alliance first identified this abuse of statistics when the petition was lodged on the Welsh Assembly website. At that point the League were claiming three times as many mammals as exist in Wales were being snared every year. Along with partner organisations the National Gamekeepers’ Organisation (NGO) and the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT) the Alliance wrote to the Petitions Committee pointing out the impossibility of this situation (see: http://www.countryside-alliance.org/facts-irrelevant-opinion-triumphs-welsh-assembly/). It would seem the League has now tried to further confuse the Welsh Assembly by using a figure for the whole of England and Wales, but this number has been produced in exactly the same misleading fashion.

The League Against Cruel Sports are continuing with their disingenuous approach to their snaring campaign in Cardiff Bay, but have decided to completely omit their misleading statistics from their campaign in Scotland since they were exposed by the Alliance (see: http://www.countryside-alliance.org/countryside-alliance-scottish-director-responds-misleading-snaring-article/). The Alliance is working to ensure these misleading tactics are also banished from the Welsh Assembly.

Rachel Evans, Director for Wales said: “The disingenuous approach that the League Against Cruel Sports has brought to the Assembly is sadly making a mockery of the process. They are misinforming Assembly Members who are unwittingly repeating the falsifying claims, on public record, for all to see.

“The figures they have conjured up are nothing short of ludicrous, to suggest that Wales is snaring almost three times the mammal population that actually exists in Wales is making a complete mockery of the petitioning and evidence gathering at the Assembly. The Alliance will continue to work closely with the science and knowledge of the GWCT and NGO to ensure that the flaws are exposed.”