Vale Wildlife Hospital and Rehabilitation Centre

WILDLIFE sanctuary boss Caroline Gould has launched a campaign to have snares banned.

It follows the discovery of a badger that had been horrifically injured by one.

Caroline is the founder and manager of Vale Wildlife Hospital and Rehabilitation Centre, at Beckford, near Tewkesbury.

She said the badger was found with the wire of the snare tightly wrapped around its neck and was so badly injured it had to be put down.

Her team was called to help the stricken animal at a woodland near Winchcombe last week. The call came from the landowner, who had not given permission for the snare to be set there.

Ms Gould said it was just the latest incident of its kind, with Vale Wildlife being called out to about two dozen each year.

Now she wants snares in England to be made illegal and is hoping to attract enough support to force MPs to change the law in the near future.

She said: “Over the years, we have had to deal with many animals suffering from horrific injuries after being caught in legal, supposedly humane, wire snares.

“Unfortunately, it is only those on the front line of wildlife rehabilitation that get to see first hand what these cheese-wire snares can do, and a majority of the public do not know the realities.”

She added that she and her colleagues had heard of cases involving domestic pets being badly injured in snares.

To kick-start her campaign, Caroline has floated the idea on a website that promotes public campaigns. It is called 38 Degrees and, so far, 1,458 people have shown an interest in it.

Two celebrities have already come across her campaign. Both Stephen Fry and Eddie Izzard have, via the social networking medium of Twitter, said they would support a ban on snares.

Farmers and gamekeepers often set them to catch animals they consider to be pests, such as rabbits or foxes.

As long as the permission of the landowner has been obtained and the snare is checked at least every 24 hours, setting one is legal.

Former Tewkesbury borough mayor, Mark Williams, farms at Sandhurst and said he had used snares in the past.

“There are genuine needs for them but I don’t use them myself anymore,” he said.

“They need to be used responsibly and checked regularly.

“If I had them, I would check them in the morning and the evening.”

Ms Gould said the badger’s injuries suggested it had been struggling to free itself for a number of days.