Animal protection charity reveals worst snaring incidents in UK in 2020

Press release from OneKind (5th March 2021)

New report from animal protection charity reveals some of the worst snaring incidents in the UK in 2020

Scotland’s leading animal campaigns charity, OneKind, has released a new report, SnareWatch Annual Report 2020: Case studies of snare use in the UK, which highlights some of the worst snaring, or suspected snaring, incidents in the UK during 2020.  

A snare is a thin loop of wire, anchored and positioned to catch an animal around the neck. Snares are, quite literally, Stone Age technology and have been used globally for centuries to catch a variety of species. In Scotland today they are mainly used to target foxes on or near grouse moors, due to the species’ perceived threat to the grouse. They may also be used to target rabbits and hares. They are required by law to be ‘free-running’ so that the wire relaxes when the animal stops struggling.  

[A snared mountain hare on a Scottish grouse moor, killed and left to rot. Photo by Ruth Tingay from a few years ago]

The report encompasses snaring incidents involving target species, such as foxes, and also non-target species including dogs, cats and farmed animals. Most of the animals that were found alive, but injured, required veterinary attention.  

OneKind Campaigner, Eve Massie, said: 

Our new report, SnareWatch Annual Report 2020: Case studies of snare use in the UKraises awareness of the suffering that wire snares inflict upon animals. Snares can cause the animals trapped in them considerable stress and pain, yet astonishingly, are still legal in the UK.  Our report highlights several cases of animals that were found alive in the snares and required veterinary attention. This includes a fox that had to be treated for the fly eggs and parasites on his body after he was trapped in a snare, suggesting he may have been there for an extended time.  

Wire snares are not only cruel but are also indiscriminate as to the species caught in them. Indeed, up to 70% of all animals caught in snares are non-target species. As evidenced in our report, dogs, cats, foxes, badgers and even lambs are caught in snares across the UK. In one particularly upsetting incident, a dog required 25 stitches for a hole in his chest that exposed muscle. The vet who treated him suspected that his injuries were consistent with being entangled in a snare. 

By highlighting snaring incidents in this new report, we aim to show how widespread snaring can be in the UK and just how much suffering these archaic traps can inflict upon animals“.

On OneKind’s snare reporting website,, Eve said: 

Since 2011 we have been appealing for reports about snares found by members of the public through our snare reporting tool website, So long as snares are legal in the UK, we believe it is imperative to gather information about the nature and extent of snaring“.  

On calling for a ban on snares, Eve continues: 

OneKind has long-campaigned for a complete ban on the sale, use and manufacture of snares in Scotland. Our Parliamentary petition to assess the welfare risks of wildlife ‘control’ in Scotland, including the use of snares, was closed by the Scottish Parliament. This was, in part, because the Scottish Government is due to review snaring this year. We hope this report will encourage the Scottish Government to reconsider the use of snares in Scotland. In 2017, NatureScot stopped issuing licenses for the snaring of mountain hares. Its time  snares are banned for all species of animal. Suffering is suffering, no matter what species of animal it is inflicted upon


9 thoughts on “Animal protection charity reveals worst snaring incidents in UK in 2020”

  1. As bad as this sounds, snaring and trapping legislation is far worse in England and Wales where reckless clauses are not included within the WCA 1981, making it perfectly legal to trap and kill protected species…….
    The Act urgently needs reviewing by Deffra ( I have written……)

  2. The “legal obligation”, often ignored, to inspect snares at least once a day is just not sufficient to ensure trapped animals are not suffering. Morning and Night would be the least that would be required. In any case, snares are a brutal method of control which should not be permitted in a modern society. Like other wildlife issues, if land owners cannot assure that their employees take account of welfare standards, they must be punished alongside the perpetrator. A few more lords of the manor in court would be a decent incentive to behave morally.

  3. Its simple really this indiscriminate barbaric trapping method should have been outlawed long ago.

  4. Snaring is the work of barbarians – every single parliamentarian should be ashamed that it remains legal.

  5. Look! Does this apply to the richeous human! This is barbaric.where is this word called humanity?

  6. The use of snares for any animal in this day & age should be reserved for some sort of (unlikely) survival situation or for SAS training or some such. It is way beyond reason that this savage method persists in the everyday.

    “Oh, but we’re upland keepers with vast and remote areas where we need to kill Foxes for the good of conservation – there’s just no other way of doing it!”

    Well, you’ve riddled the moors with quad tracks, you have high end ATVs, you have top notch night vision kit and you have high spec rifles…so get up and get out there at 2am in the morning, on foot if needed!

    “Oh no, can’t do that, that would mean we’d be too tired to drive around all daytime & sit behind walls waiting for Buzzards in the evenings. We’d prefer to stick with our snares, thank you. You see that way we have the time and energy to kill everything”.

    1. Interesting report following snared(dead) cat at Bernard Castle recently.displayed Hunter/gamekeeper written understanding
      “Under no circumstances should all foxes on the Estate be exterminated”
      Could have been an excerpt from the recent Webinar disaster…….

      1. Is this supposed to make sense? What does “recently.displayed Hunter/gamekeeper written understanding” mean?

        1. Agree might have been better described.
          An understanding between 2 parties expressed in writing……

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