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Reporter's mind changed on snaring after day with gamekeeper

The Countryside Alliance has welcomed an article by The Courier, titled "I thought snaring foxes was cruel – could Perthshire gamekeeper Richard change my mind?”. The article reveals the reality and benefits of using cable restraints to capture predators, including foxes.

Land managers and gamekeepers have responded in outrage to proposed changes to the Wildlife Management and Muirburn (Scotland) Bill, which would ban snares – something the Alliance has warned could have a catastrophic impact on livestock farming and the conservation of rare ground-nesting birds.

In a bid to understand the realities of the debate, Courier reporter Joanna Bremner met with the Perthshire Estate’s head gamekeeper, Richard.

Richard explained the essential role of humane cable restraints in predator control, and highlighted the red-listed species population that thrives on the estate he manages. He also demonstrated the careful training involved in snare usage to ensure it does not cause unnecessary suffering and that it does not catch non-target species.

As a result, Bremner left the conversation with a changed perspective on snaring foxes. She said:

“I met Richard thinking I’d find the whole process of snaring disgusting and inhumane, but it really does seem like they take the necessary steps to limit the harm to the fox as much as possible.”

Jake Swindells, Director of the Scottish Countryside Alliance, responded:

“It’s always refreshing when someone shelves their own perceptions and goes out on the ground to see for themselves how our rural way of life actually works. I must applaud Reporter Joanna Bremner from The Courier for doing just that.”

He added:

“Clearly the killing of any animal will have a polarised view in current society, but to comment on how others operate, you must first have an understanding of exactly that. Humane Cable Restraints (HCR’s) are an effective management tool that we need to retain so that we can ensure the survival of many red listed species in Scotland. Without them we will lose many of our iconic species, such as the Capercaillie.”

Ultimately, Bremner’s article reinforces the value of visiting the countryside and meeting the people legislation will effect. For this reason, the Alliance carries out a number of ‘on the ground’ visits with stakeholders, bringing journalists, policymakers and MSP's to the countryside to show them the rural way of life.

To read the article, click here.

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