Calls for a ban on snares and caged breeding of ‘game’ birds in Wales

A host of celebrity naturalists have joined animal welfare charity the League Against Cruel Sports in a campaign to see snaring and caged ‘game’ bird rearing outlawed in Wales.

They are calling on every party in May’s Senedd elections to make a manifesto commitment to ban these cruel practices, which are associated with the ‘game’ shooting industry in Wales.

The campaign is backed by Lizzie Daly, Megan McCubbin, Indy Greene, Mya-Rose Craig (BirdGirl), David Lindo and Hannah Stitfall. They explain on the League’s Bred to Die website, being launched at 12:45pm today, more about the shooting industry and why snaring and caged breeding should be banned.

Dr Amir Khan, GP, and blogger Kate on Conservation have also leant their support to the campaign.

Lizzie Daly, biologist, wildlife presenter, filmmaker and environmentalist, said: “It’s heartbreaking to think about the cruelty, pain and distress endured by animals affected by all the snares currently lying hidden in the Welsh countryside, or by pheasants and partridges confined to small cages. 

“In recent years there has been a lot of progress in respect to animal welfare in Wales – the country is leading the way in tackling animal cruelty and banning snaring and caged breeding will be another simple but important next step.”

Zoologist and Wildlife presenter Megan McCubbin, who is also the League’s youth ambassador, said: “Snaring as a means of predator control is non-selective and brutal. And it’s not just wild animals that are caught – pets and other animals are too.

Keeping birds in cages so tiny is just cruel and their gloomy fate when released is to be shot, run over or to starve to death in the wild.

“We have a chance to ban snaring in Wales, and to stop game birds being reared in tiny cages, and I hope Welsh voters will join us in asking their election candidates to pledge to change the law.”

Polling commissioned by the League and undertaken by YouGov in January this year found 78 per cent of the Welsh public wanted snares – thin wire nooses mainly laid by gamekeepers to trap animals – to be made illegal and 72 per cent thought the use of cages to breed pheasants and partridges should be made illegal.

The League has uncovered some figures which show the cruelty of the game bird industry in numbers:

  • Up to 51,000 cruel snares lie hidden in the Welsh countryside at any one time *1
  • 90,000 pheasants and partridges confined in small cages for breeding in Powys *2
  • Up to 800,000 eggs produced every week at Bettws Hall, Europe’s largest ‘game’ bird farm *3

Snares and caged breeding of game birds form part of an industrial scale industry in which 184,000 pheasants and partridges are shot every day across the UK during the shooting season.

Snares are used extensively on ‘game’ bird shoots to trap any animal that gamekeepers say threaten pheasants and partridges, though their indiscriminate nature means they trap anything unlucky enough to step into them.

In Wales there is a voluntary code of practice on snares.

However, Bethan Collins, the League’s senior public affairs officer for Wales, said: “No amount of regulation can reduce the distress inflicted on animals by snaring or the number and variety of animals caught in these cruel, lethal traps so we are calling on the Welsh Government to ban them.

“Cages are cruel and cause suffering to ‘game’ birds and the Welsh Government has already indicated it wants to become a cage free nation, so we are calling on all candidates to back a ban in the next Senedd.”


ENDS

*1 Figures from Defra report Determining the Extent of Use and Humaneness of Snares in England and Wales (2012): https://tinyurl.com/3ewxz9p3

*2 Figures from APHA freedom of information request

*3 Figures from Bettws Hall Game Farm brochure: https://tinyurl.com/nnhbpw

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 1,085 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 15th - 19th January 2021. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all adults in Wales (aged 18+).

 

For more information or interview requests please contact the League Against Cruel Sports Press Office on 01483 524250 (24hrs) or email pressoffice@league.org.uk

 

The League Against Cruel Sports is Britain's leading charity that works to stop animals being persecuted, abused and killed for sport. The League was instrumental in helping bring about the landmark Hunting Act. We carry out investigations to expose law-breaking and cruelty to animals and campaign for stronger animal protection laws and penalties. We work to change attitudes and behaviour through education and manage sanctuaries to protect wildlife. Find out more about our work at www.league.org.uk. Registered charity in England and Wales (no.1095234) and Scotland (no.SC045533).

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