GE2015 Day Two: Snares

If you read my introduction blog you’ll know that throughout this week, running up to the general election, I am doing a blog a day about some key issues which affect wildlife in the UK and in some cases on a world wide scale. As I only have six days and I’m currently taking my GCSEs I’ve only been able to include six topics but of course there are many more. With these blogs I hope to show people the problems our wildlife faces, what we can do, who it affects, what will happen if we don’t address the problem, see if there’s been any mentions in party manifestos and much more! I’m also trying to exaggerate the fact that we should be voting for nature and the environment. Along with sending the posts to party leaders, MPs etc. It’s key that we address problems facing wildlife now so it’s not too late as when it is too late we’ll be in serious trouble.

Unfortunately there are many ways that people have the opportunity to persecute and discriminate the wildlife in our countryside, whether it be legal or illegal. This doesn’t just happen in the UK though, it happens all over the world. You would think a terrible device, which can chew through the limbs and bones of those animals which get caught in them, would be illegal. However that isn’t the case, free running snares are legal while self-locking snares are illegal. A free running snare is supposed to slacken when the animal stops struggling, while a self-locking snare can only become tighter. However, these terms are not clearly defined and a rusted, kinked, or knotted snare quickly becomes self-locking. Either way they cause extreme suffering to animals and often a painful, lingering death.

As you have probably guessed the aim of this post is express that fact that snares should be banned altogether, free running and self locking.

What is a snare and what are they supposed to be used for?

Snares are thin wire nooses which are set to trap wild animals perceived to be a pest or threat. They are usually made of steel, or sometimes brass, stranded wire. The aim of a snare is to allow the target animal’s head to enter then as it moves forward the noose becomes tighter. Their actual use, in the UK, isn’t to kill the animal but to capture and restrain the animal until a person can attend and humanely kill it. In Britain, they’re largely used by gamekeepers to control fox numbers and also used to a lesser extent by farmers and landowners to control rabbits. Snares are usually set up along runs or pathways thought to be used by the target species. They are also sometimes placed over the entrances to rabbit burrows or fox earth. Defra estimated that nearly 6,000 landholders use fox snares across England and Wales, and rabbit snares are used over 1,500.

 The suffering

If a snare is attached to a post the captured animal in its efforts to escape will end up wrapping the wire round and round the post until the noose is so tight that if causes serious injury. Snares have also been found positioned on the top of walls or banks, so that when they catch their victims, the animals fall and are hung to death. Even when a free-running snare is set properly the wire can easily become kinked or tangles in such a way that the snare acts like a self-locker. A self-locking snare continues to tighten as its victim struggles but does not relax when the animal stops pulling. This causes the nooses to cut through the animal’s skin and into its flesh, causing terrible suffering.

A slow death by strangulation is bad enough but snares do not only capture the animals by the necks. Some animals get their legs caught in snares and end up with the snare cutting down in the bone. Such animals may attempt to escape by gnawing off their own limbs. Other animals are caught around the body. Both badgers and foxes have been found with snares that have almost cut them in half.

There are always stories in the news about snares, here are a few recent ones

Peak District estate under pressure to remove snares after spate of injuries

Stoke-on-Trent badger “strangled to death” in Fegg Hayes snare

Cats caught in homemade snares at St Athan, RSPCA warns

As you can see snares are awful things which cause animals to suffer incredibly. In my opinion, they should of been banned years ago. The UK is the one of the only countries in Europe where they’re still legal.


When looking through all the manifestos there was no mention of banning snares except for from the Green Party. It said they will end the use of snares. It’s very disappointing that the Greens are the only party which say they will ban the use of snares.



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