If anyone thought the League was going to simply roll over and give up as far as snaring in Scotland is concerned they are sadly mistaken. We might be two down to the Scottish Government but we are certainly not giving up and are definitely aiming for third time lucky.
This week our petition which we submitted jointly with animal charity OneKind to the Scottish Parliament's Public Petitions Committee was discussed for the twelfth time in nearly four years. The petition is calling for a ban on the sale, manufacture and use of all snares. We first submitted it, along with 11,000 signatures supporting our campaign, back in March 2008.
Since then the Committee has shown overwhelming support for our campaign, drawing on countless evidence to further substantiate our argument and even calling the Minister for Environment in for oral questioning.
The situation with snaring in Scotland is that we currently have a Snares (Scotland) Order which regulates the use of snaring. In March this year Parliament passed the Wildlife and Natural Environment (Scotland) Act (WANE) which includes a section on snaring which will replace the current Order. We were absolutely gutted that an amendment to ban snares under the Act wasn't passed. However, it was agreed that the new regulations would be reviewed in 2016.
It has since come to light that the snaring section of the WANE Act may take up to two years to be commenced - legislation needs to have Royal Ascent and then pass a Commencement Order before it becomes law. Bizarrely the reason for the delay apparently is to allow gamekeepers time to pass their training courses to enable them to snare lawfully. Surely the sensible option would be to commence the law and then make it the gamekeepers' responsibility to make sure they can operate within the law.
The Petitions Committee has agreed to write to the Scottish Government to ask it when it intends to commence the snaring section of the new Act and what the reason behind the delay is. It's frustrating that we're now having to play a long game when we had two clear opportunities to ban these cruel, outdated traps in the last session of Parliament. Despite massive public and political support our attempts to rid Scotland of the scourge of snaring were blocked but we won't give up. Snaring has no place in an modern society, the suffering they cause far outweigh any justification for their use and we won't stop campaigning until their use is illegal.