The Cruelty of Snaring
Flagship shooting estates involved in out-of-control predator control
The League Against Cruel Sports today (23rd May 2005) reveals how the legal use of snares on shooting estates across Britain is responsible for the painful death and injury of thousands of animals every year.
"The Killing Game" (1.9MB in pdf.format) is the result of months of investigative work by the League into several high profile shooting estates in England, Scotland and Wales. It reveals how the shooting industry is breaking its own guidelines on the use of snares and causing untold suffering to badgers, foxes, cats, birds of prey and other species.
The shooting estates concerned continue to use out-of-control predator control methods to protect artificial stocks of game birds in order to provide sufficient profitable targets for shooters during the season.
Among the estates visited by the League were three owned by senior figures within the shooting industry:
- Ranton Abbey, Staffordshire - owned by the Earl of Lichfield, President of British Association of Shooting and Conservation (BASC)
- Bradenham estate, Buckinghamshire - owned by Sir Edward Dashwood, Chairman of the Countryside Alliance 'Campaign for Shooting'
- Clarendon estate, Wiltshire - owned by Andrew Christie-Miller, Chairman of the Game Conservancy Trust (GCT)
These estate owners share responsibility for the industry's voluntary code of practice - a code which is ignored on their own estates. League investigators uncovered dozens of examples of snares which breach the industry's own - voluntary - guidelines.
-setting snares near badger sets
-setting snares without 'stops' - leading to potential horrific injuries to captured animals
-snares set on 'dragpoles' - leaving caught animals to drag the snare away
-snares set on bridges and fences where captured animals could hang themselves in a desperate bid to escape
-a trapped cat in a snare
-the killing of buzzards and mountain hares
-snares set near public footpaths where pet dogs could be caught
-damaged and kinked snares, with the potential to cause serious injury to captured animals
-the display of animal carcasses
-decomposed animals left in snares
Douglas Batchelor, chief executive of the League Against Cruel Sports, said, "The setting of these snares is absolutely disgraceful. It is done knowingly with a reckless disregard for the welfare of the animals that will be caught in the snares. It is also shameful that these snares are still legal."
The League is now calling for a ban on the manufacture, sale and use of snares. An Early Day Motion in Parliament (EDM 75) calling for such a ban was tabled with cross-party support on May 17.
The League's findings were also endorsed by Professor Steven Harris of the School of Biological Sciences, Bristol University who said: "As with so many other wildlife issues we are a long way behind the rest of Europe where the majority of countries have banned the use of snares. We are also the only country where game shooting is characterised by the mass slaughter of large numbers of birds in a single day. The only way this is sustainable is by mass release of captive-bred birds and the use of widespread and often indiscriminate predator control methods."
League Chief Executive Douglas Batchelor continued: "This report is a first step in exposing the wanton cruelty of the shooting industry. We have often heard shooting lobby groups trumpet their support for conservation - this evidence reveals that their idea of 'conservation' is far removed from that of most right-thinking people."
Saboteurs appalled as a beagle dies at a north west hunt - 26/12/98
Hunt saboteurs in the North West were today (26th December 1998) appalled at the complete indifference shown by hunt staff and supporters alike at a meet of the Forest and District Beagles, near Macclesfield, Cheshire after a beagle died after getting caught in a snare. The incident occurred at approx 1.30 p.m. after the hunt had set off from the Cragg Inn public house at around noon. The hunt master, Mr Richard May, refused to comment on the incident when questioned by a saboteur present. Paul Timpson stated 'The complete lack of shame or concern shown by the hunt and their supporters over the needless loss of a beagle's life is disgraceful. I will never forget the pathetic sight of the limp, lifeless beagle being carried down from the hill.