On 27th September 2022, the Welsh Government announced at the Senedd (the Welsh Assembly) that its new Welsh Agriculture Bill will include the Programme for Government commitment to a complete ban on the use of snares and glue traps. Previous legislation only regulated their use, but it proved to be inadequate. As the new bill is likely to be passed, Wales will become the first country in the UK to introduce a complete ban on all types of snares. Glue traps are already partially banned in England and Scotland.
Snares are thin wire traps which tighten around their victim and are widely used by gamekeepers of the shooting industry to target any animal they think threatens the birds they breed and release to be shot by paying customers. Only a quarter of the animals caught in the up to 51,000 snares hidden in the Welsh countryside at any one time are the target species (such as foxes and rabbits). A 2021 YouGov plc poll showed 78% of the Welsh public wanted a ban on snares in Wales.
Lesley Griffiths, Minister for Rural Affairs of Wales, said, “Wales will be the first country in the UK to introduce a complete ban on the use of snares and glue traps. These devices catch animals indiscriminately, causing a great deal of suffering, and they are not compatible with the high animal welfare standards we strive for here in Wales. A complete ban is the only way forward.”
In 2005, the report of the UK Independent Working Group on Snaring (IWGS) estimated that the proportion of non-target captures was between 21% and 69% in the UK. The animal rights organisation Animal Aid had a petition to the UK government that reached more than 100,000 people calling for a ban at the UK level. The UK is one of only five European countries where using snares is still permitted — the others being the Republic of Ireland, France, Spain, and Belgium.