Wednesday, 19 September 2012
SNARES ARE CRUEL AND SHOULD BE BANNED
I CAME under attack from the usual suspects when I recently called for private gun ownership to be banned.
You can always expect the same reactions when taking a stand against people with guns who like to kill animals.
There are those that desperately cling to any justification and promote their activities as a service to the countryside, and then there are those who just arrogantly and unashamedly defend their “right” to shoot at defenceless animals.
Either way, the reaction usually lingers somewhere between bullying and threatening, but I guess that’s kind of par for the course.
That’s why I had sympathy with the League Against Cruel Sports when it encountered a similarly blinkered backlash after the publication of its film Gunsmoke and Mirrors. You an watch it here: http://vimeo.com/45496168 or http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=prbPW-eNGG0
One of the problems it covers is snaring and, in particular, the ongoing issue of gamekeepers and farmers failing to comply with the codes of practice designed to minimise cruelty.
It follows the publication of a DEFRA study that revealed not a single fox snare operator visited was fully compliant with the code of practice developed by the Independent Working Group on Snares.
Just as alarmingly, it is not actually readily possible to buy a snare that is fully compliant with the code of practice recommendations.
Snaring is of course a long-standing issue. It is an inherently cruel practice. Only the most optimistic among us can, at best, hope that a snared animal will not be subject to prolonged suffering.
The reality is far darker. Many captured animals will be left to starve. That is if they don’t die first of panic or from the agony of the tightening noose around their limb as it bites harder and harder the more they struggle for freedom.
Then there are those that will be injured, ultimately leading to a slow and cruel death as they struggle to fend for themselves, while others may become an unnaturally easy target for prey.
And that does not even touch on the fact that a snare is entirely indiscriminate in terms of the animals it captures. The DEFRA study found more than half of operators had captured non-targets in fox snares.
Snaring is inhumane and unacceptable. Attempts to regulate the practice have failed and will always fail because, ultimately, you can’t make right what is fundamentally wrong.
That is why politicians must face up to the bullies and take strong action. Just like cock fighting and hunting animals with dogs before it, the use of snares is cruel and only a total ban will suffice.
Will there be an outcry from the noisy minority? Of course there will. But the day we give in to the bullies is the day when we might as well give up altogether.