Thank you for contacting me about the use of snares.
I understand your concerns about this issue and I share your passion for the welfare of our wildlife, although I must inform you that I am not aware of any current plans to ban the use of snare traps.
I know that snares are commonly used in the UK to catch certain animals prior to their killing and current legislation provides strong protection for threatened species and the welfare of trapped animals. Those committing an offence can face prosecution, an unlimited fine or even a custodial sentence.
Snares are controlled in England and Wales under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. This prohibits the use of self-locking snares and the setting of any type of snare in places where they are likely to catch certain non-target animals such as badgers. It also requires snares to be inspected on a daily basis.
The Animal Welfare Act 2006 prohibits causing unnecessary suffering to animals under the control of man, including those animals caught in traps. Trapped animals should be released from a snare trap as soon as reasonably practical after discovery to ensure they do not unnecessarily suffer. I know that not doing so could be a breach of the 2006 Act and could lead to prosecution.
The onus is on trap operators to act within the law and consider their responsibilities in ensuring that their activities do not harm protected species or cause any unnecessary suffering, and if you believe an individual is inflicting unnecessary suffering on animals the matter should be reported directly to the Police.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.
Sally-Ann Hart MP