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Written Answers. - Badger Snaring.

Wednesday, 28 February 1996

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 462 No. 3

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 113. Mr. Sargent Information on Trevor Sargent Zoom on Trevor Sargent  asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Forestry Information on Ivan Yates Zoom on Ivan Yates  if licences have been issued permitting the snaring of badgers in County Kilkenny. [4754/96]

 114. Mr. Sargent Information on Trevor Sargent Zoom on Trevor Sargent  asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Forestry Information on Ivan Yates Zoom on Ivan Yates  the number of badgers that must be snared before he calls a halt to the killing in the affected areas. [4755/96]

[810]

 115. Mr. Sargent Information on Trevor Sargent Zoom on Trevor Sargent  asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Forestry Information on Ivan Yates Zoom on Ivan Yates  the number of times snares are inspected after being laid; the person who inspects them; if each ensnared badger is shot by an amateur gunman when located; and if his attention has been drawn to the serious risk these snares pose to other animals, both domestic and wild. [4756/96]

 116. Mr. Sargent Information on Trevor Sargent Zoom on Trevor Sargent  asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Forestry Information on Ivan Yates Zoom on Ivan Yates  if his attention has been drawn to the fact that a humane alternative, namely the cage trap, is available if badgers need to be trapped, and that this has been successfully used in the United Kingdom and Germany. [4757/96]

 117. Mr. Sargent Information on Trevor Sargent Zoom on Trevor Sargent  asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Forestry Information on Ivan Yates Zoom on Ivan Yates  the concerns, if any, he has that people involved in illegal badger baiting can remove badgers from Department snares for use in this cruel sport resulting in horrific injuries and suffering for these protected animals. [4758/96]

 130. Mr. Gregory Information on Tony Gregory Zoom on Tony Gregory  asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Forestry Information on Ivan Yates Zoom on Ivan Yates  the number of licences issued permitting the snaring of badgers on a county by county basis; the time scale and duration of the licences issued; the conditions involved, such as the regularity with which snares must be inspected; the monitoring agency involved; the events that follow the ensnarement of badgers; the personnel involved in disposing of badgers; the steps, if any, that are taken to ensure that other animals domestic and wild, are not put at risk; the reason a more humane alternative namely the cage trap which is used successfully in the United Kingdom and Germany has not replaced the snare in this country; and the steps, if any, taken to ensure that badgers who are snared are not used in illegal badger baiting. [4662/96]

[811]Minister for Agriculture, Food and Forestry (Mr. Yates): Information on Ivan Yates Zoom on Ivan Yates I propose to take Questions Nos. 113, 114, 115, 116, 117 and 130 together.

The badger is a protected species under the Wildlife Act, 1976 and may be removed only under licence for research purposes, and in accordance with conditions specified by the Wildlife Service of the Office of Public Works. In the context of the bovine TB eradication scheme, my Department applies for licences generally where badgers have been identified as contributing to high levels of bovine TB. The number of licences issued to my Department by the wildlife service in 1995 on a county by county basis is set out on the following table. Licences are valid for periods of 12 months from the dates of issue. In the first instance, a statistically determined number of badgers, usually less than 12, is snared to determine the presence or otherwise of bovine TB in the badger population. Snaring ceases if TB is not found.

While in place, snares are inspected every 24 hours by authorised Department personnel and this generally continues for ten days after which the snares are removed. Any snared badgers are killed humanely by experienced authorised operatives who have valid firearms licences and the entire servicing operation is carried out under the supervision of my Department's staff. All badger carcases are sent to laboratories for postmortem examination following which they are disposed of, usually by incineration. I am not aware of any evidence or suspicion that snared badgers have been used in badger baiting.

Cage traps have been found to be unsuitable for catching the required number of badgers to identify infection in a badger population. Such traps are also more liable to be interfered with as they are far more visible than snares. Snares are located close to sett entrances in such a way as to minimise the risk of ensnarement of other animals.

[812] Badger Licences issued in 1995

County No of Licences
Carlow 7
Cavan 10
Clare 39
Cork North 8
Cork South 25
Donegal 7
Dublin 4
Galway 8
Kerry 6
Kildare 4
Kilkenny 38
Laois 24
Leitrim 3
Limerick 11
Longford 7
Louth 2
Mayo 7
Meath 3
Monaghan 25
Offaly 9
Roscommon 5
Sligo 14
Tipperary North 22
Tipperary South 19
Waterford 12
Westmeath 8
Wexford 7
Total 334


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