Press release from Scottish SPCA (17 July 2020)
Scottish SPCA raise concerns after animals die suffering in illegal snares and traps
The Scottish SPCA is appealing for information after being alerted to deceased animals caught in illegal snares and traps over the last month.
The Society’s special investigations unit was alerted to two incidents of badgers in illegal snares in North Lanarkshire since 5 July and a hare was discovered trapped in a spring trap in the Pentland Hills on 18 June.
From 2018 to 2019, the charity dealt with almost 60 incidents involving animals caught in snares and traps. The majority of these animals were dead on arrival.
Scotland’s animal welfare charity supports an outright ban on all snares due to the level of suffering an animal is caused.
The snares that killed the badgers were illegal as both had been set on a fence line. This is unlawful due to the risk of an animal trapped being wholly or partially suspended which can lead to severe unnecessary suffering. The snares also did not have a ‘stop’ which does not allow the device to tighten after a certain point. All snares are legally required to have an identification tag but this was absent on both devices. The snare in Motherwell was made out of nylon which is an illegal material for use in snares.
The hare was caught in an outdated spring trap which became illegal for use on non-target animals in April 2020. Trap operators should be aware of the recent change in legislation that dictates which traps are legal and which traps are no longer approved. This particular trap was unapproved and was not legal in the circumstances in which it was used.
Scottish SPCA special investigations inspector, who cannot be named due to undercover operations, said:
“Snare and trap operators must check on the device every 24-hours and this was not the case in these incidents.
These animals were caused unimaginable physical and mental anguish being caught in these traps. The creatures will have experienced slow and agonising deaths. The level of suffering they would have felt is unimaginable.
The badger in Airdrie had been dead for two or three months and in Motherwell, the animal had been deceased for over 24 hours.
The badgers must have passed under the fence and become caught in the snare. One under its front legs and the other around its neck. Both animals must have panicked and this caused the snare to constrict them further and further.
The hare was found in the Pentland Hills near Balerno trapped by its front leg. By the time we found it, the leg had almost been severed due to the amount of struggle and fight put up by the animal.
These areas are popular with dog walkers so we would ask that anyone with pets in the areas are vigilant. Snares and traps are indiscriminate and domestic animals such as dogs and cats can also be caught in them. It is illegal for anyone to tamper with a legally set snare or trap so we would ask the public not to attempt this. If someone suspects a device is set illegally then they should contact us immediately.
We’ve been working closely with our partners at Police Scotland on these wildlife crimes and both agencies are keen to find those responsible.
We’d also like to thank the owners of the land in Airdrie, Premier Woodlands, who have been fully cooperative and are keen to find those responsible.
If anyone has any information on whoever may have set these snares or traps or if anyone finds what they believe to be an illegal item, we would urge them to phone our animal helpline immediately on 03000 999 999. All calls can be treated confidentially.”