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Last Updated: Monday, 1 March, 2004, 13:52 GMT
Showbiz stars call for snare ban
Jenny Seagrove
Jenny Seagrove has asked the executive to ban snares
A trio of showbiz stars have written to the Scottish Executive in a last ditch plea to ban snaring from the Scottish countryside.

Actresses Jenny Seagrove and Annette Crosbie and scriptwriter Carla Lane are appealing to MSPs to reject a law to allow trapping to remain legal.

They are hoping their letters will lead to the outlawing of the traps.

Last week the environment and rural development committee refused to ban the practice of trapping.

The new Nature Conservation (Scotland) Bill is set to be voted on in April and would become law in a matter of weeks if successfully passed.

'Seize the opportunity'

But the likes of Ms Seagrove, who stars as barrister Jo Mills in the BBC drama Judge John Deed, are pleading with MSPs to vote against the legislation.

She said: "I am horrified snares are still widely used in Scotland.

"I strongly urge Scottish politicians to seize this opportunity to rid the beautiful Scottish countryside of these terrible cruel and indiscriminate devices that cause animals so much suffering."

Gorebridge-born Annette Crosbie, who starred as Margaret Meldrew in the BBC sitcom One Foot In The Grave, made a similar appeal.

There are hundreds of protected species and domestic animals killed and maimed by snares in Scotland every year
Superintendent Mike Flynn
She said: "It is unbelievable and disgraceful that in a so-called civilised country these barbaric devices are still being used to torture and kill animals."

While Carla Lane, creator of Bread and Butterflies and well-known animal rights campaigner, added: "I have personally witnessed the awful suffering snares can inflict.

"I really don't understand why these grotesque things are still legal - I can't think of any worse way to die than being caught in a snare."

Campaigners claim more than half of the animals caught in snares are protected species and not the rabbits and foxes they are intended to trap.

But the executive insists the traps are a legitimate form of pest control for catching vermin and is ignoring calls for a blanket ban.

Advocates for Animals (AFA) said there could be thousands of snares across Scotland causing indiscriminate damage to innocent wildlife.

'Barbaric devices'

AFA spokesman Ross Minett said: "I would say there will probably be many tens if not hundreds of thousands of snares set across Scotland at any one time.

"Disgracefully, Scotland is one of only five European countries that still allows these barbaric devices to be used.

"We do not believe those who abuse the current legislation would heed additional restrictions."

The SSPCA also advocates a ban but suggested a system of coding each trap could be used as an alternative to identify those who misuse them.

"In reality enforcement and prosecution is virtually impossible without coding," said Superintendent Mike Flynn.

"A snare is totally indiscriminate.

"There are hundreds of protected species and domestic animals killed and maimed by snares in Scotland every year."

Emotive issue

However, the executive believes the new bill will considerably tighten up bad practice.

A spokesman said: "We recognise snaring is an emotive issue.

"The Nature Conservation Bill, which is currently going through the Scottish Parliament, clamps down hard on malpractice and abuse of snares.

"We recognise, however, that snares can be a legitimate method of pest control provided they are used in a responsible, professional and targeted manner."

The Scottish Gamekeepers' Association congratulated the government's current standpoint and said: "We applaud the executive's intention to retain snaring as a valued and necessary tool in predator control and we thank the minister for taking the time to listen to our concerns."

MSPs reject ban on animal snares
25 Feb 04  |  Scotland
Carla Lane's animal centre cash appeal
12 Aug 03  |  Southern Counties

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