The Review Group have considered all of the information made available (through COPFS, Police Scotland, the TAG, the approved training bodies and that provided by SSPCA, Scottish Badgers, OneKind) in respect to Section 11 of WCA (as amended by the WANE Act 2011), and in accordance to the requirements in Section 11F of the same Act.
The Review Group is satisfied that the reported incidences of snaring related offences have reduced.
Feedback from the approved training bodies indicates that the administration procedure is satisfactory.
The Review Group are therefore content that the legislation is working in its current state and are not making any fundamental recommendations requiring changes to legislation. However we ask the Scottish Government to consider the merit of amending legislation to require operators to update records at least once every 48 hours unless they have a reasonable excuse not to do so, and to submit records to the Police on demand if the Police arrive at the location where the records are kept, or within 7 days to a police station.
Furthermore that consideration is given to the introduction of the power of disqualification for a snaring offence, in line with Section 1 of the WCA regarding the use of general licences to control birds.
Consideration should also be given on how a strengthened Code of Practice can be better endorsed through legislation in a manner comparable with how the WANE (Scotland) Act 2011 (Section 15) applies the Code of Practice for Non-Natives.
The Review Group make the following recommendations which can largely be incorporated within the Snaring Code of Practice:
With respect to Section 11A: Training. Identification numbers, tags etc.;
- A standardisation of the assessments methods and level of attainment required for a 'pass' through agreement between the approved bodies in association with SASA;
- A requirement for approved training bodies to deliver training to meet the minimum requirements outlined in the Code of Practice.
With respect to Section 11 D: Presumption arising from the Identification number;
- Clarification within the Code of Practice that permission may be granted to another operator to check snares (in the event of the identified operator being unavailable due to sickness or holiday). It should also be made clear that the responsibility (and presumption arising) remains with the operator identified on the snare irrespective of the person performing checks;
- Further consideration be given to the requirement for operators to update snaring identification details when circumstances change and in particular how this may affect any subsequent presumptions made under Section 11D.
With respect to Section 11 E: Record keeping;
- The development of a pro-forma record book to append the Code of Practice, for use by operators if they choose to do so.
With regard to animal welfare:
- Consider regulation to increase the stop position on fox snares to enlarge the noose size to 26cm;
- Consider regulation to increase the number of swivels on fox snares to a minimum of two.
Email: John Gray