Scottish Animal Welfare Commission - trapping of terrestrial wild mammals using snares: position paper

A position paper from the Scottish Animal Welfare Commission (SAWC) on the live trapping of terrestrial wild mammals and using snares for lethal control in Scotland.


The role of the Scottish Animal Welfare Commission (SAWC) is to provide advice on animal welfare, including, specifically, consideration of how policies take account of animal sentience, the wider welfare needs of animals and the type of improvements that could be made.

SAWC defines animal sentience as: ‘the ability to have physical and emotional experiences, which matter to the animal, and which can be positive and negative’.

Animal welfare is relevant to animals that have this ability.

SAWC defines animal welfare as: ‘the mental and physical state of an individual as it experiences and engages with its environment’.

SAWC has been asked to provide a view on the animal welfare impacts of wire neck snares, as used in Scotland to trap and restrain sentient wild mammals prior to killing by the trap operator.

On 25 November 2021, the Minister for Environment, Biodiversity and Land Reform confirmed, in response to a question in relation to the Grouse Moor Management Review Group recommendations, that the Scottish Government would extend the scope of the second quinquennial snaring review to include a potential ban on snares in Scotland.

SAWC is grateful to the Wild Animal Welfare Committee (WAWC) for providing a note reviewing the current use and regulation of snaring in Scotland, as well as the animal welfare impacts. The following note covers animal welfare issues, based on the WAWC review. It also makes a recommendation for future regulation, which is the independent view of SAWC.




The Scottish Animal Welfare Commission Secretariat
Animal Health and Welfare Team
P-Spur, Saughton House
Broomhouse Drive
Edinburgh EH11 3XD

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