AN ANIMAL welfare charity is accusing the Government of delaying implementing snaring regulations.
The League Against Cruel Sports notes much of the Wildlife and Natural Environment (Scotland) Act, passed in March last year, came into effect at the beginning of this month.
But requirements for training and record-keeping for snare users will not become law until January next year, which the charity describes as a farce.
League Against Cruel Sports spokesperson Louise Robertson said: “There is no reason to delay this section of the act further as snare users have had plenty of time to undergo training and make themselves law abiding. It is an absolute nonsense particularly given the training is being provided by non-UKAS accredited trainers and with no veterinary or animal welfare advice included in the course.”
Section 13 of the act covers the use of snares and includes measures to regulate their use, including making sure all snares have stops to prevent them tightening beyond a certain circumference and ensuring the snare is securely staked to the ground or heavy object so it cannot be dragged away by the captured animal.
But, says the charity: “The part of the act which applies to training, identity tagging for snares and record keeping will not become law until January 2013 – almost two years after the law was passed by the Scottish Parliament.”
However a Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “There has been no delay. This is a sensible step-by-step process for bringing in the new rules. We cannot tell people they must complete a course before telling them what will be in the course.
“We have discussed the content of the training courses with a range of interested parties, including taking advice on the animal welfare element of the course.
“We will very shortly be putting an order before parliament with the content of the course and there will be a reasonable period of time for all gamekeepers, farmers and anyone else who uses snares to complete this.”
A snare is a thin wire noose used mainly on sporting estates to protect game birds from predators.
A League Against Cruel Sports spokesperson said: “They are intended to kill foxes and rabbits, but in many cases catch other species including badgers, otters, livestock and domestic cats and dogs. A snare can cause horrific suffering and in many cases a slow and painful death.
“The league campaigned for a complete ban on the use of all snares and supported an amendment to the Bill which would make snaring illegal. This was unsuccessful and the Scottish Parliament voted for regulations. These will be reviewed in December 2016.”