Countryside Alliance Wales Director, Rachel Evans, responds to proposals to introduce legislation on snares.
Countryside Alliance Wales support the code compliant use of snares and see them as a vital tool in pest control. Removing this option will be detrimental to improving biodiversity in Wales and make fox control in some agricultural areas of Wales extremely difficult to undertake. This could prove incredibly problematic for our hard working farming community.
Proposals to bring in legislation on snares were highlighted in the Welsh Government reports published on Tuesday, following a review of responses to the Agriculture (Wales) White Paper consultation.
The responses have been varied, with “strong opinions” and “some respondents calling for a complete ban”. We know from experience that such opinions- although not backed by scientific evidence- have been used by Labour Senedd Members and Ministers to prop up their agenda. Furthermore, when the evidence has been presented but doesn’t suit the policy intent, we have borne the brunt of an artificial numbers game. Disingenuous petitions aimed at snares and shooting are two prime examples of where the introduction of legislation can conveniently be dubbed “the will of the people”.
This recent consultation posed questions with no background information on the proper and lawful use of snares. Support for the retention of snares has come in from organisations who fully recognise the importance of having this vital tool available for the farming sector as well as nature conservation. The weight of responses for the consultation I am afraid, have been measured by an orchestrated campaign by the League Against Cruel Sports who have embarrassing form when it comes to snares. LACS were called out by the Countryside Alliance when they claimed in a petition laid at the Senedd that more mammals were being snared in Wales than the actual mammal population.
However, in the Governments Response and Forward Plan they say that “A large proportion of the consultation responses supported this approach citing animal welfare concerns and capture of non-target animals”. Unsurprisingly, they go on to state: “As set out in the Programme for Government, we will ban the use of snares and glue traps”.
The Alliance will continue to robustly challenge any number crunching scenarios the Welsh Government may play out to firm up their “plan to ban” and will continue to push for them to provide scientific evidence to support their proposals.
We are working closely with our interested partners to do all we can to steer this in the right direction for a fair and evidence-based outcome for snare users in Wales.
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