Use of snares banned and grouse shooting to be licenced in new law

The use of snares has been banned in Scotland after the bill was passed.

Use of snares banned and grouse shooting licenced by Scottish Government new law STV News

The Scottish Government has introduced a ban on the use of snares and licencing provisions for grouse shooting.

The Wildlife Management and Muirburn (Scotland) Bill was passed in to law by MSPs on Thursday which bans the use of snares and includes provisions to licence grouse shooting.

The Bill will also see licences and training required for the use of traps, while grouse shooting will be dependent on legal management practices.

A ban has been imposed on using glue traps to catch rodents, and greater powers have been given to the Scottish SPCA inspectors to tackle wildlife crime.

The practice of muirburn, the burning of vegetation usually in a controlled manner in order to promote growth and maintain open moorland will now also be strictly regulated.

Jim Fairlie, agriculture minister said: “This Bill is a significant step in our wider journey to ensure Scotland’s environment is managed sustainably.

“People who live and work on our land have shown that it’s possible to manage wildlife.

Grouse shooting will be dependent on legal management practices under the new law. Photo: STV News.STV News

“They have shown that muirburn, which is a key approach to helping manage wildfires, can be undertaken responsibly and in a way that protects biodiversity.

“We have struck the right balance between improving animal welfare, supporting rural businesses and reinforcing a zero tolerance approach to raptor persecution and wildlife crime.”

Anne McCall, director of RSPB Scotland said: “The overwhelming support given by MSPs in passing this Bill is absolutely brilliant news.

“We have been campaigning for decades for better protection for birds of prey and, over the last decade as the evidence for widespread criminal activity became ever more clear, for the regulation of the grouse shooting industry and for more powers to be given to Scottish SPCA inspectors to help investigate it.

“I commend the Scottish Government, its ministers and other MSPs for acknowledging the evidence that has repeatedly demonstrated the clear links between the illegal killing or disappearance of hundreds of birds of prey and land intensively managed for driven grouse shooting.

“This new legislation delivers on what we were looking for, and we welcome the scrutiny given to it by members of the Parliament and the amendments lodged by various MSP’s that have improved it.

A ban has also been imposed on using glue traps to catch rodents. Photo: SSPCA.SSPCA

“We now look forward to continuing to help with the development of the codes of practice for grouse shooting and Muirburn, to contributing to the ongoing review of species licensing being undertaken by NatureScot and to assisting the statutory agencies in ensuring that any landholdings who persist in killing protected species face the full range of newly available penalties.”

The British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) has warned the government of the “ruinous” impact the Bill will have on the country’s biodiversity and rural economy.

Peter Clark, BASC Scotland director said: “BASC has made substantial progress in mitigating the worst effects of the draft bill.

“Unfortunately, not all of these changes were adopted, despite the fact that these changes were informed by the collective expertise of those on the ground who protect our natural environment.

“So it is vitally important that we look at the proportionality and validity of the final format of the bill.

“We believe the final draft still poses a risk to sustainable grouse moor management, predator control and muirburn and will be ruinous to the rural economy and the species that gamekeepers work to protect.”

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