A sheep farmer who set illegal snares to catch foxes was fined £160 at Stranraer Sheriff Court this week after admitting causing unnecessary suffering to a badger which got caught instead.
Iain McFadzean, 48, Glenvernoch Farm, Bargrennan, a former chairman of Wigtown Agricultural Society, returned for sentencing after admitting breaching the terms of the Wildife and Countryside Act 1981 by allowing the badger, which survived the incident, to become partially suspended in the snare. He also pled guilty to failing to ensure the welfare of the badger after it became caught.
In March this year a member of the public found the badger in the snare and attempted to free it but when they were unable to do so they contacted the SSPCA. An inspector from the animal welfare organisation freed the badger and took it for treatment.
Fiscal depute Kay Christie said the SSPCA imspector reported he had a conversation with the accused during which he referred to badgers as “vermin”. The SSPCA returned to the farm the following day and went round with the accused to inspect all the snares on the farm. McFadzean admitted he had not been on a course to learn to set snares according to the legislation.
In mitigation, Peter Matthews, representing McFadzean, said his client was a hard-working farmer with 31 years’ experience who had no intention of hurting a badger. He said McFadzean was only interested in catching foxes as they were a threat to his livelihood as they killed lambs. He had “no problem” with badgers and could only think that his “vermin” comment to the SSPCA inspector had been misunderstood. The last time he had found a badger in a snare he had freed it and got it veterinary help.
But the agent admitted that McFadzean had not kept up with changes to the law and was still setting snares the way he had been taught as a 12-year-old.
Following the conclusion of the case, SSPCA chief superintendent Mike Flynn said: “McFadzean had set the snare on a fence which meant that any animals caught could potentially be hung.
“The badger had sustained severe injuries to its legs and nose which had resulted in significant blood loss.
“Snaring is cruel, indiscriminate and unnecessary and the only way to stop animals from suffering in snares is an outright ban.”