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Nick Thomas-Symonds MP has spoken out against the use of snares during a debate in Parliament. The Torfaen MP spoke in the House of Commons during a debate called by fellow Labour MP Jim Dowd. He highlighted the indiscriminate nature of snares and warned that they often capture animals other than those they are intended to target.
His colleague, Cynon Valley MP Ann Clwyd pointed out that every 20 seconds an animal is caught in a snare somewhere in the UK and around 1.7 million wild and domestic animals are killed by snares each year.
The motion for debate stated that snares are indiscriminate, cruel, and cause suffering to thousands of animals a year; argued that attempts at voluntary and self-regulation had failed; and called on the Government to implement a full ban on the manufacture, sale, possession and use of snares as soon as possible.
In 2005, Defra introduced a Code of Practice on the use of snares which set out best practice for their use, including possible steps to take to avoid trapping ‘non-target’ species. However, compliance with the Code is voluntary and a 2012 report produced for Defra found that whilst awareness of the Code was very high, levels of compliance with the best practice it contains were very low.
During the debate MPs pointed out that the devolved Assemblies have made far more progress on the matter in recent years. The Welsh Government were praised for having taken on board all of the arguments around the use of snares and for publishing their “Code of best practice on the use of snares in fox control” in September 2015, which aimed to “deliver higher animal welfare standards, increased efficiency in terms of fox control, and ensure that fewer non-target species are being caught.”
Nick Thomas-Symonds said: “Snares can cause extreme suffering to animals and often a painful, lingering death and I think it is clear that their use needs to be reviewed.
“The current Government must set out its position on this important issue as a matter of urgency and I hope Ministers will listen carefully to the concerns that continue to be raised by animal welfare groups about the use of snares.
“It is important that they follow the example set by the Welsh Government and work productively with farmers, gamekeepers and animal welfare groups to develop a more coherent and effective package of measures to prevent illegal snaring and the unnecessary suffering of animals.”