The League Against Cruel Sports is calling on the Government to ban the cruel and barbaric practice of snaring in Great Britain and Northern Ireland, with the launch of its snares manifesto and petition.

The charity’s manifesto shows current voluntary codes of practice don’t work and a complete ban on snaring is the only way to stop the suffering caused by these cruel indiscriminate devices.

Set to be launched this evening at a House of Commons event, the manifesto encapsulates findings from years of research into snaring, including the 2012 investigative film, Gunsmoke and Mirrors. It also addresses the issues raised in the 2012 Defra report on the humaneness of snaring in England and Wales, which was published last year, but is still yet to be responded to by the Government.

In attendance of cross party MP’s and celebrities, including League Vice President Bill Oddie, the charity will also formally launch a petition calling for the Environment Secretary, Owen Paterson MP, to introduce legislation to ban snaring in England and Wales.

Snares are commonly used by gamekeepers to trap wild animals such as foxes and rabbits, perceived to be pests. The indiscriminate nature of snares however means that it is impossible to control which animals are caught even when following Code of Practice guidelines. As a result, livestock, protected mammals such as badgers and otters and even domestic pets, including cats and dogs often fall victim.

In 2012, DEFRA estimated up to 260,000 fox and rabbit snares were used in England and Wales. The report also showed that no fox snare operator was compliant with the current Code of Practice guidelines.

Appallingly, most rabbit snare operators were found not to take any measures to avoid the capture of non-target animals. Nearly 30 per cent had caught pet cats.

The report found a staggering 60 per cent of snare operators had caught non-target animals in fox snares.

Snaring is an extremely cruel and indiscriminate practice harming and killing our wildlife, livestock and beloved family pets. This has been confirmed by our research and Defra. We urge all parliamentarians to read our manifesto and for the public to make their opposition to snares known by signing the petition.

“It’s high time that this barbaric and unnecessary practice is banned once and for all”, says Joe Duckworth, Chief Executive of the League Against Cruel Sports.

Finally, the reality of snares is that animals caught in the devices suffer huge stress and can sustain horrific injuries. In their desperate bid to escape, they can be disembowelled by the wire, wrench bones out of sockets and even chew through their own limbs.