Animal welfare charity the League Against Cruel Sports has hailed a historic ban on snares, ­which comes into force in Wales today [October 17], as a fantastic result for wildlife.

The introduction of the Agriculture (Wales) Act today marks the end of a six-year campaign by the League to end the use of snares.

Wales has now become the first nation in the United Kingdom to make these cruel and indiscriminate animal traps illegal and to end the pain and suffering they cause.

Shahinoor Alom, public affairs officer in Wales at animal welfare charity the League Against Cruel Sports, said:

“We are delighted to be able to celebrate the banning of snares in Wales today, and the end of our six-year campaign. The ban shows the Welsh Government’s commitment to strong animal welfare standards, reflects the views of the Welsh public and is a fantastic result for wildlife in Wales.

“Wales is leading the way in reducing the cruelty and suffering that animals face and paving the way for similar bans on snares in both Scotland and England, with the Scottish Parliament set to debate the issue this autumn.”

Snares are wire nooses which tighten around their victims and are used predominantly by shooting industry gamekeepers to trap wildlife on land where non-native pheasants and partridges are released in huge numbers simply to be shot.

Up to 51,000 of these cruel devices lie hidden in the Welsh countryside at any one time according to Defra figures.

The same Defra research show almost three quarters of the animals caught are not the intended target species such as hares, badgers, otters and people’s pets.

Polling carried out by YouGov in Wales in January 2021 showed 78 per cent of the Welsh public wanted snares to be made illegal.

The League is now urging the public in Wales to ensure the new ban on snares is being followed and to report any snares to its Animal Crimewatch service and their local police force. People found flouting the ban face a potential six-month jail sentence.

Shahinoor added: “It’s time for change, and for the Scottish Parliament and Westminster to follow Wales’s lead.

“We also need to ensure that the ban is being adhered to, so we are calling on the Welsh public to play their part by being vigilant and report any sighting of these barbaric devices.”