January 2008 CAMPAIGNERS AIM TO STOP PETS SUFFERING IN SNARES ANIMAL ORGANISATIONS LAUNCH CAMPAIGN TO BAN SNARES IN SCOTLAND Animal welfare organisations are calling on pet owners to tell their stories about their cat or dog getting caught in a snare. Advocates for Animals and the League against Cruel Sports have launched a massive campaign to inform the Scottish public about snares and why they should be banned. Feedback from the public so far has confirmed the entirely unselective nature of these traps and highlighted the number of dogs and cats that are being caught or killed. Advocates Campaigns Director, Ross Minett, said: We already knew that peoples pets were falling victim to these dreadful traps. But we have been shocked by the number of heart-rending stories that have recently come to our attention. To us, the suffering of wild animals in snares is enough reason to ban them. But if anyone is in any doubt, they should listen to the voices of people who have seen the suffering of a beloved family pet. We appeal to pet owners to let us know if they have experience of a pet being caught in a snare, either by e-mailing email@example.com or calling 0131-225 6039. More information can be found on our new website www.bansnares.com. A supporter recently wrote to Advocates for Animals: "Within the last 2 days, I had a personal experience (not the first time) of my Labrador dog being caught by the nose in such a device not 20 yards from a public path. Her state when I reached her, within a few minutes, was pitiful The practice is clearly still widespread in our rural area in the name of "pest control" for the benefit of pheasant shooting. I cannot condone this so-called collateral and horrible damage to natural species. The ban must, in my view must be total - no compromises are acceptable." In another example, a cat, Tigger, went missing near Scone for nearly a week. Despite desperate attempts to find her she did not return. On the 7th day a neighbour phoned to say that she thought that Tigger was caught in her fence. They found her hanging upside down, caught by her hind quarters. Tiggers owner said: We were unable to see how she was caught but my neighbour's husband got some wire cutters and managed to free her. From her hips back, her body was rock hard she made no attempt to move, only this heart-rending meeow that was hardly audible. I immediately telephoned the vet who arranged to meet me in his surgery. He laid Tigger on his table and after a few minutes sunk his finger through her fur and using some cutters snipped the wire that was constricting her. At that moment, Tigger died. Tigger had been caught up in the snare for days and as it was at the bottom of the garden inside a hedge, nobody had heard her cries for help. A most distressing and heartbreaking time. Louise Robertson, League Against Cruel Sports added: Living on the edge of a shooting estate I am constantly worried that my dogs will be caught in a snare as I know they are in use very close to where I walk. No commercial or sporting interest can justify the trapping of thousands of animals in wire nooses where they can suffer terribly and die a lingering death. Surely a modern civilised country should not tolerate the trapping and death of protected species, farmed animals and pets in these devices. It is to our shame that we are one of the few countries that still allow snares to be used. The Scottish Government must act to ban snares and lead the way for the rest of the UK. The campaign is supported by the UKs largest dog welfare charity, Dogs Trust. Chief Executive Clarissa Baldwin said: Dogs Trust is pleased to support the campaign. Dogs are being caught in these horrendous snares, we urge all dog owners to ensure that their dogs are kept properly under control to avoid this needless suffering and death. We hope the battle for a ban will be resolved soon Added Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary: The indiscriminate nature of snares is extremely concerning. To think that they can trap, severely injure or at worst kill a pet dog is frightening for many dog owners who live in the countryside. The Scottish Government must take action to ensure that pet animals are not caught up in these traps, which were intended to deal with foxes and other pests although the justification for using them even for other animals is questionable. The UK is one of a minority of European Member States that still allow snares to be used. An announcement on the future of snaring is expected next month from the Scottish Government. It is hoped that a ban in Scotland could lead the way for the rest of the UK. Notes The campaign for a ban on the manufacture, possession and use of snares is led by Advocates for Animals and the League Against Cruel Sports, supported by the Hare Preservation Trust, Hessilhead Wildlife Rescue Trust, International Otter Survival Fund and Scottish Badgers and sponsored by the Marchig Animal Welfare Trust. A ban on all snares is also supported by the Scottish SPCA. The anti-snaring campaign, Hanging is still legal in Scotland, consists of nationwide advertising on buses, cinema advertisements, a two-week tour of major cities, leaflets, postcards and a dedicated website: Ban Snares Campaign :: home. A campaign poster (attached), Snares are indiscriminate killers, features a dog tag to highlight that pets are at risk from snares. Snares are a primitive means of pest control used on some farms and sporting estates in Scotland. They are set to catch so-called pests such as foxes and rabbits but in reality any animal is at risk from getting caught in a snare, including protected animals such as badgers, otters and mountain hares, other wild animals such as deer, farmed animals such as sheep, and domestic cats and dogs. Although designed to immobilise their targets, snares can inflict horrendous injury and in many cases cause a painful and lingering death. In December 2007, the Scottish SPCA released a report on snaring compiled from the evidence of Scottish SPCA inspectors, wildlife crime police officers and vets. It showed that of 269 animals reported as having been caught in snares, 14 were dogs and 31 were cats. Five of the dogs and four of the cats were already dead or had to be put out of their misery. Companion animals accounted for 17 per cent of the total. It is unknown how many of the pets that go missing every day are in fact snare victims. Only 23 per cent of animals were so-called pests such as foxes and rabbits. Although snares are meant to be restraining devices, more than half of all the animals reported were either found dead in the snare or had to be put down. A ban on snares is supported by the vast majority of people in Scotland. An opinion poll showed that only 19% of people were aware that snares were still legal, most presuming they had already been banned, and 75% of people think they should be banned. The Scottish SPCA surveyed vets in Scotland, and 85% of those that responded supported a total ban on snares. CommunicateResearch interviewed 1036 Scottish adults 18+ in February 2007 for the League Against Cruel Sports. The questions asked were as follows: 1. Is it legal or illegal to use snares to trap wild animals? 2. It is in fact legal. Do you think they should be banned in Scotland? CommunicateResearch found that 19 per cent answered legal to question one and 75 per cent supported a ban in question two.