Prince Charles has come under pressure from animal rights campaigners to remove ‘barbaric’ snare traps from Sandringham after a pet dog was caught by the neck and suffered in the cold for hours before it was rescued.
The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) Foundation has called on the Prince of Wales to set an example and scrap the ‘cruel’ contraptions.
It follows reports of small animals recently getting ensnared on the lethal devices at the 20,000-acre Norfolk estate, including a rescue dog and an owl.
The four-year-old cross-breed pet rescued from Romania, called Nell, got caught on the snare after it was startled by the sound of a shotgun.
It had apparently frantically bitten her feet to get out of the trap and would have died ‘within hours’ if its owner had not found her, the Independent reports.
A protected species of owl was also reportedly caught in a trap at Sandringham in December, and the incident is being investigated by police.
PETA has today written to Prince Charles, who is managing the estate after control of it was passed over to him by his mother the Queen, to urge him to ‘remove these cruel contraptions from Sandringham immediately’.
The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) Foundation has called on the Prince of Wales to set an example and scrap ‘cruel’ snare traps from Sandringham Estate
It follows reports of small animals recently getting ensnared on the lethal devices at the 20,000-acre Norfolk estate, including a four-year-old rescue dog and a protected owl
What are snares?
Pictured: a wire snare trap
Snares are anchored cable or wire nooses set to catch wild animals such as squirrels and rabbits.
They are normally classed as either a self locking snares which is illegal or a free running snares which is legal.
A snare traps an animal around the neck or the body.
However, they are widely criticised by animal welfare groups for inflicting serious injury or death on the animals.
UK users of snares accept that over 40 per cent of animals caught in some environments will be non-target animals, although non-target captures range from 21 per cent to 69 per cent.
Snares are anchored cable or wire nooses used by gamekeepers to kill animals such as squirrels, rats, rabbits and weasels, which they consider a threat to young pheasants and partridges reared to be shot.
Campaigners who want to ban snares argue that they cause prolonged suffering to the thousands of wild and domestic animals that are killed or severely injured every year by them.
According to PETA, the traps are ‘unnecessary, dangerous, and cruel’ – and their use ‘continues to pose a threat to all animals’.
In their letter to Prince Charles, the activists said: ‘Although the dog survived her ordeal, the use of these traps continues to pose a threat to all animals, and we urge you to remove them from the estate immediately.
‘Snares consist of a wire noose which tightens when the trapped animal struggles. They are unnecessary, dangerous, and cruel.
‘In their desperate attempts to escape, animals may be strangled or suffer horrible and sometimes life-threatening injuries, which could become infected.
‘So extreme is their distress that animals have been known to chew their limbs off, desperate for a chance at freedom.
‘Snares are also indiscriminate, maiming any animal unfortunate enough to go near them – as Nell’s case demonstrates.
‘A snare caught and killed a little owl, a protected species in the UK, just two months ago. In fact, according to a UK government study, 75 per cent of animals killed in snares are not the intended target.
‘The British public largely oppose the use of snares, and 77 per cent of Britons want them to be banned, according to research conducted by Ipsos Mori.
‘By banning these contraptions on Sandringham Estate, you would not only prevent further deaths and instances of suffering but also set a positive example of peaceful coexistence with wildlife and other animals.
‘We hope to hear from you soon that these unnecessary, cruel, and dangerous devices will be removed from Sandringham Estate permanently.’
Senior Campaigns Manager Kate Werner told MailOnline: ‘Snares can cause wildlife a painful death and are completely indiscriminate: dogs, cats, and protected species are also often victims of these barbaric devices.
Snares are anchored cable or wire nooses used by gamekeepers set snares to kill animals such as squirrels, rats, rabbits and weasels, which they consider a threat to young pheasants
A protected species of owl was also reportedly caught in a trap at Sandringham in December, and the incident is being investigated by police
‘Prince Charles must remove these cruel contraptions from Sandringham immediately – it’s what the British public wants and what animals deserve.’
The Royal Family has been contacted for comment.
Nell’s owner, who was not named by the Independent, previously warned that his dog could have died if he had not found her.
‘To hear your dog barking in distress, then to find she is caught round the neck in a wire snare was heartbreaking,’ he said.
The League Against Cruel Sports called on the Royal Family to ‘substantiate its commitment to the natural world by putting the environment and animals’ interests before the narrow concerns of the shooting industry’.
In a statement after the incident, a spokesperson for the Royal Family said: ‘We would welcome the opportunity to speak to the dog owner to understand where and how this happened, as our policy is that traps are located at a good distance from any public rights of way.
‘As a working estate, Sandringham uses traps to protect wildlife, crops and livestock and adheres to all the appropriate standards and regulations required. All traps are subject to daily checks by estate staff.’