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Northern Eco - 13th February 2001 by John Dean

Few rural issues evoke such anger as the use of snares.

Campaigners for their abolition argue that the devices are cruel and indiscriminate, as not only do they catch the foxes they are set but other animals too. Many Badger Groups, for instance, can point to incidents in which badgers, a protected species, have been caught.

And the RSPCA says snares are trapping more and more domestic pets. Its inspectors estimate that only one-third of animals snared are the target species and that the largest group of other creatures are cats.

Pressure group Animal Aid describes snares as evil, claiming that rabbits and otters also wander into them, many suffering protracted and agonising deaths.

But landowners and gamekeepers argue that, properly used, snares are an effective way of protecting ground-nesting birds from predators which steal eggs and chicks.

They say that increasingly tight laws governing methods such as poisoning means that gamekeepers controlling predation are left with little option but to use guns or snares.

There are two type of snare - the illegal self-locking version which continues to tighten as the animal struggles, and the legal free-running one which slackens off but still holds the animal. Gamekeepers, who have by law to check snares daily, can then dispatch the trapped animals swiftly and humanely.

Please click the following links to see how people argue in favour of and against snares:

You probably won't be surprised to know that Badgerland are against using snares!

"The man who deliberately sends a terrier to ground to face a badger should resign from the human race."
David Stephen
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