Snares Order (Northern Ireland) 2015

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 2:45 pm on 3rd October 2016.

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Photo of Michelle McIlveen Michelle McIlveen DUP 2:45 pm, 3rd October 2016

I thank the Member for his question. Personally, I have sympathy for the calls to ban the use of snares outright. However, as mentioned, a practical approach to land management is needed. Young lambs are susceptible to fox predation, as are game birds and other species, and farmers and gamekeepers require a practical and effective means of vermin control. The alternatives are not viable: the use of poison is potentially prohibited, less targeted and more inhumane. It is not reasonable to ask landowners to patrol their fields with shotguns at night, when foxes are most active, and it would also be costly and potentially dangerous to allow others to do that work on a large scale on their behalf.

As you will be aware, a complete ban was discussed during the debate on the Wildlife and Natural Environment Bill, which went through the Assembly in 2011. It was debated at length and rejected. The new legal requirements will help to promote best possible practice in the use of snares, but I have sympathy for the Member's comments.