A ban on the use of snare traps in Scotland has reached a key parliamentary milestone after MSPs on the Rural Affairs Committee voted in favour of Environment Minister Gillian Martin’s amendment to ban the use of snares.

The Scottish Government argues that if passed by Parliament at Stage 3, the Wildlife Management and Muirburn Bill will contain a provision that will directly lead to more effective and sustainable wildlife management practices.

During her committee appearance, Ms Martin said: “This Parliament can no longer ignore the weight of evidence that snares lead to unacceptable levels of suffering, not just for wild animals, but for domestic animals which can also become trapped in them.

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“I recognise that control of predators is necessary in order to protect vulnerable species, as well as livestock and agriculture. However, I am confident that a ban on the use of snares would not prevent anyone from undertaking necessary wildlife management and that there are still sufficient alternative methods of predator control that can be used.

“We have paid close attention to the evidence, to what stakeholders have shared in terms of their experiences, as well as our consultation on the matter before taking this decision."

Scotland Land & Estates say pragmatic amendments to the wildlife trap section of the draft Wildlife Management and Muirburn Bill have been welcomed by moorland managers, but serious concerns that the legislation will compromise efforts to tackle biodiversity loss still remain.

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SL&E director Ross Ewing said: “Our firm view is that the Wildlife Management and Muirburn Bill is an unnecessary measure but if it is to proceed, there is a need to ensure that it is not a flawed piece of legislation.

“We welcome the introduction of amendments by Environment Minister, Gillian Martin MSP, which will provide important legal safeguards to the operators of wildlife traps under the proposed trap licensing scheme.

“The provisions which have been amended out by the Minister would have enabled NatureScot to suspend wildlife trap licences without them being satisfied with a relevant offence having been committed, which would have been disproportionate and unworkable for operators.

“We also welcome the successful introduction of amendments which will make it a bespoke offence to tamper with or destroy a wildlife trap – a widespread issue facing practitioners across Scotland.”

However, the organisation remains “strongly opposed” to the minister’s amendment which will prohibit snaring and the use of cable restraints.