Following the story last week of a fox that died after becoming caught in an illegal snare near Parton, The Scottish Gamekeepers Association have responded with criticism of the SSPCA who asked the public to report suspicious snares.
A spokesman from the association said: “The Scottish Gamekeepers Association advocates legal snaring practices and is one of the government-approved bodies in providing snare training and certification across Scotland.
“The use of legal traps and snares by trained operators, approved under license by Scottish Natural Heritage, is a vital tool in conservation and predator control.
“Without being able to use snares, wildlife managers would find it very difficult to control, under licence, the abundant predatory species in our countryside which can have a serious affect on populations of more vulnerable wildlife such as wading birds, songbirds, black grouse and red squirrels.
“Whilst we agree that snares set illegally, by those not trained to use them, are wrong, we feel it is irresponsible that the SSPCA should be encouraging the public to report all snares, as was suggested by the story, whether illegally set or not.
“All snare operators are issued with a registration number by the police when they become certified to use them and this number will be on all snares set legally.
“We would like to remind the public that tampering, moving or interfering with legally set traps and snares, whether well intended or not, is a criminal offence.”
The fox was found to have suffered prolonged and painful injuries and had to be put to sleep by SSPCA vets.
Chief Superintendent Mike Flynn said at the time: “We are asking members of the public to contact us if they see a snare and have any suspicions as to whether it is legally set.
“Local dog and cat owners should also be extra vigilant when allowing their pets outdoors as there could still be other live snares in the area.
“While snaring continues, suffering will continue and that is why we are in favour of an outright ban on the use of snares in Scotland.”