Closed petition Make the use of free-running snares illegal for trapping wildlife

The Government should prohibit the sale, use and manufacture of free-running snares under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, putting them in the same category as self-locking snares, which are already illegal.

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We believe that people setting free-running snares cannot ensure animal welfare as required under the Animal Welfare Act 2006, that such snares cause unnecessary suffering to mammals, are indiscriminate and should be banned.

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Parliament considers all petitions that get more than 100,000 signatures for a debate

Waiting for 244 days for a debate date

Government responded

This response was given on 13 January 2022

The Government recognises that some people consider snares to be an inhumane and unnecessary means of trapping wild animals and will launch a call for evidence on the use of snares.

Read the response in full

Snares may be used in the UK to catch and restrain certain animals, primarily foxes and rabbits, for the purpose of wildlife management.

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 at least once daily. A person guilty of an offence can receive an unlimited fine or even a custodial sentence.

The Animal Welfare Act 2006 also prohibits causing unnecessary suffering to animals under the control of a person, including those animals caught in traps.

The Code of Best Practice on the Use of Snares for Fox Control in England sets out clear principles for the legal and humane use of snares. This was published on 20 October 2016 and can be found at:
https://basc.org.uk/codes-of-practice/snares-for-fox-control-in-england/

We know that some people consider snares to be an inhumane and unnecessary means of trapping wild animals. When used improperly, snares can cause immense suffering and we are looking at whether changes are needed to address these concerns. Therefore, we have committed to launching a call for evidence on the use of snares. This was announced in the Action Plan for Animal Welfare, which we launched last year as part of our continued drive to maintain the highest animal welfare standards in the world:
www.gov.uk/government/publications/action-plan-for-animal-welfare

The call for evidence, which will be launched in due course, will be publicly available online, allowing all interested parties to express their views on the use of snares. In this way, the Government will ensure it has the very latest understanding on this issue, and our position will be informed by the responses received.

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Other parliamentary business

MPs ask Government about plans to call for evidence on the use of snares

The Petitions Committee has written to the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to ask when the Government plans to launch its call for evidence on the use of snares, which was announced in the Government's Action Plan for Animal Welfare.

Read the Committee's letter: https://committees.parliament.uk/publications/9579/documents/162171/default/

The petition you signed, calling on the Government to make the use of free-running snares illegal for trapping wildlife, has passed the 100,000 signature to be considered for debate, and is currently waiting to be scheduled for a debate. The Chair of the Committee Catherine McKinnell MP, in her letter, states it would be preferable for the Government’s call for evidence to be published before any debate on this issue, so this can be discussed by MPs, and asks the Government to confirm when this will be published.

We will share the Government's response with you when this is received, and will let you know as soon as a debate on the petition you signed is scheduled.

The Government's Action Plan for Animal Welfare

The Government published its Action Plan for Animal Welfare in May 2021. This set out the Government's plans, aims and ambitions across animal welfare, and included a commitment to launch a call for evidence on the use of snares. The Action Plan stated that "The government considers it timely to open this call for evidence to make sure it has the very latest understanding on this issue".

Read the Action Plan for Animal Welfare: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/action-plan-for-animal-welfare/action-plan-for-animal-welfare