Vets in unique position to submit snaring data

New online project to build accurate picture of snaring’s impact on animal welfare

Veterinary surgeons are being urged to take part in a ‘unique survellience project” to gather information on the use of snares and their effects on animal welfare.

The project has been instigated by the League Against Cruel Sports to build an accurate and up-to-date picture of the prevalence of snaring in different areas of the country.

The project consists of three questionaires that will be available to download from the official campaign website, www.snaringsurvey.org.uk which will go live on May 21.

According to snaring campaigner Cerys Roberts, who represents the League, the site will incorporate an online snaring incident notification form to enable people “on the front line” – including vets and wildlife crime officers – to submit information on new snaring incidents.

She told Veterinary Times: “The Snaring Survey website represents a vital new tool in the collation of accurate data on the issue of snares.”

“Vets are also asked to contribute further data to a postmortem study, which will be downloadable from the site. This is a huge ask of already busy professionals, but the study is a unique opportunity to improve knowledge of the animal suffering caused by snares and ot make the case for changes to the law, where appropriate.”

A further short survey will record any snaring-related cases that vets and wildlife crime officers may have dealt with in the past five years, including details of the animals involved. This will provide data on the extent of snaring use and the effect on non-target animals, such as livestock, protected animals – including badgers and otters – and domestic pets.

So far this year, the League has received reports of nine incidents involving cats injured or killed by snares.

It is hoped that he data collected through this surveillance project can be used to influence future legislation on animal welfare and the use of snares for vermin control.

ESSENTIAL SURVEILLANCE

Veterinary advisor Bill Swann told Veterinary Times that welfare surveillance was essential to gain a through understanding of the prevalence of severity of issues such as snaring.

He said: “Vets are in a unique position to assist with surveillance as they are on the front line and are able to accurately record incidents. Only by gathering reliable data can the scale of a problem be understood and, where appropriate, a case made for changes in practice or to animal protection law.

“The current call for evidence from the League Against Cruel Sports is an ethical approach to animal welfare that vets can, and should, support. The call to action is two-fold: vets are asked to record any incidents of snaring using a standard format. I hope vets will also carry out autopsies on animals that have died in snares or that have been enthanised after sustaining snare injuries, using a reporting form that will soon be available online. This is a very big ask, but one I hope the profession will rise to and support.”

PARTNERSHIP APPROACH

Mr Swann, who previous roles include head of the RSPCA’s veterinary division and director of international development with The Brook, claimed the veterinary profession had already.

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