Charity investigation finds ‘staggering’ amount of wire snares in popular tourist park
Runners and ramblers in the scenic Peak District are at risk of being caught in vicious wire snares, according to a new League Against Cruel Sports investigation.
Two runners have been injured by the snares – wire nooses intended to catch foxes – this year, with three other people, including an elderly woman, injured in the last five years. League Against Cruel Sports investigators were shocked to find 100 snares set in just a small area which is often frequented by runners, ramblers and dog walkers.
The investigation, focussing on open-access land owned by the Moscar Estate near Sheffield also revealed:
- several ‘stink pits’ containing the bodies of dead animals used to attract animals to the snares, all containing remains of mountain hares (a species of conservation concern) along with foxes and birds
- numerous dead mountain hares laid out on paths near snares to act as a lure for foxes
Joe Duckworth, Chief Executive of the League Against Cruel Sports, which is calling for snares to be banned in the UK, said: “The danger of these snares to humans and their pet dogs is obvious, so to have so many snares set in such a popular part of the country is shocking. We’d warn anyone visiting the area to be very careful about where they tread, and to keep an eye on their dogs.
“It must have been an awful experience for these runners to be trapped by the snares, and to have had at least five people experience this in the last few years shows how dangerous it is. But at least people can free themselves from these wire nooses – any wild animals caught in them will suffer terribly, and many will endure a slow and painful death.”
The League Against Cruel Sports investigators were staggered at the number of mountain hare bodies found in the nearby stink pits. Mountain Hares are rare in the UK, and are only found in the Peak District in England. They are listed as a ‘species of conservation concern’ in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan and as a Significant Species in the Dark Peak Natural Area.
The number of dead mountain hares found on the Moscar Estate – which hosts grouse shoots – suggests that they are either being deliberately killed (presumably shot) or large numbers are being caught in snares intended to catch foxes.
Joe Duckworth added: “Less than one in three animals caught in snares set for foxes are actually foxes, with hares making up the majority of unintended victims. Snares are indiscriminate and cruel, and frankly belong in the dark ages.
“The UK is one of only five EU countries where the use of snares is legal. Their use is meant to be controlled by a code of practice, but time and again we are finding that the code of practice is being ignored. The majority of people in this country want snares banned, so it’s about time that the government – of whatever colour – stopped listening to the wishes of shooting estates and banished snares into history where they belong.”