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Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981

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11 Prohibition of certain methods of killing or taking wild animals.E+W

(1)Subject to the provisions of this Part, if any person—

(a)sets in position any self-locking snare which is of such a nature and so placed as to be calculated to cause bodily injury to any wild animal coming into contact therewith;

(b)uses for the purpose of killing or taking any wild animal any self-locking snare, whether or not of such a nature or so placed as aforesaid, any bow or cross-bow or any explosive other than ammunition for a firearm; F1 . . .

(c)uses as a decoy, for the purpose of killing or taking any wild animal, any live mammal or bird whatever, [F2 ; or

(d)knowingly causes or permits to be done an act which is mentioned in the foregoing provisions of this section,]

he shall be guilty of an offence.

(2)Subject to the provisions of this Part, if any person—

(a)sets in position any of the following articles, being an article which is of such a nature and so placed as to be calculated to cause bodily injury to any wild animal included in Schedule 6 which comes into contact therewith, that is to say, any trap or snare, any electrical device for killing or stunning or any poisonous, poisoned or stupefying substance;

(b)uses for the purpose of killing or taking any such wild animal any such article as aforesaid, whether or not of such a nature and so placed as aforesaid, or any net;

(c)uses for the purpose of killing or taking any such wild animal—

(i)any automatic or semi-automatic weapon;

(ii)any device for illuminating a target or sighting device for night shooting;

(iii)any form of artificial light or any mirror or other dazzling device; or

(iv)any gas or smoke not falling within paragraphs (a) and (b);

(d)uses as a decoy, for the purpose of killing or taking any such wild animal, any sound recording; F3 . . .

(e)uses any mechanically propelled vehicle in immediate pursuit of any such wild animal for the purpose of driving, killing or taking that animal, [F4 ; or

(f)knowingly causes or permits to be done an act which is mentioned in the foregoing provisions of this subsection,]

he shall be guilty of an offence.

(3)Subject to the provisions of this Part, if any person—

(a)sets in position [F5or knowingly causes or permits to be set in position] any snare which is of such a nature and so placed as to be calculated to cause bodily injury to any wild animal coming into contact therewith; and

(b)while the snare remains in position fails, without reasonable excuse, to inspect it, or cause it to be inspected, at least once every day,

he shall be guilty of an offence.

(4)The Secretary of State may, for the purpose of complying with an international obligation, by order, either generally or in relation to any kind of wild animal specified in the order, amend subsection (1) or (2) by adding any method of killing or taking wild animals or by omitting any such method as is mentioned in that subsection.

(5)In any proceedings for an offence under subsection (1)(b) or (c) or (2)(b), (c), (d) or (e), [F6and in any proceedings for an offence under subsection (1)(d) or (2)(f) relating to an act which is mentioned in any of those paragraphs] the animal in question shall be presumed to have been a wild animal unless the contrary is shown.

(6)In any proceedings for an offence under subsection (2)(a) it shall be a defence to show that the article was set in position by the accused for the purpose of killing or taking, in the interests of public health, agriculture, forestry, fisheries or nature conservation, any wild animals which could be lawfully killed or taken by those means and that he took all reasonable precautions to prevent injury thereby to any wild animals included in Schedule 6.

[F7(7)In any proceedings for an offence under subsection (2)(f) relating to an act which is mentioned in subsection (2)(a) it shall be a defence to show that the article was set in position for the purpose of killing or taking, in the interests of public health, agriculture, forestry, fisheries or nature conservation, any wild animals which could be lawfully killed or taken by those means and that he took or caused to be taken all reasonable precautions to prevent injury thereby to any wild animals included in Schedule 6.]

Extent Information

E1This version of this provision extends to England and Wales only; a separate version has been created for Scotland only

Textual Amendments

F1 Word "or" in s. 11(1)(b) omitted (25.9.1991) by virtue of Wildlife and Countryside (Amendment) Act 1991 (c. 39, SIF 4:5), ss. 2(2)(a), 3(3).

F2 Word "or" and s. 11(1)(d) inserted (25.9.1991) by Wildlife and Countryside (Amendment) Act 1991 (c. 39, SIF 4:5), ss. 2(2)(b), 3(3).

F3 Word "or" in s. 11(2)(d) omitted (25.9.1991) by virtue of Wildlife and Countryside (Amendment) Act 1991 (c. 39, SIF 4:5), ss. 2(3)(a), 3(3).

F4 Word "or" and s. 11(2)(f) inserted (25.9.1991) by Wildlife and Countryside (Amendment) Act 1991 (c. 39, SIF 4:5), ss. 2(3)(b), 3(3).

F5 Words in s. 11(3)(a) inserted (25.9.1991) by Wildlife and Countryside (Amendment) Act 1991 (c. 39, SIF 4:5), ss. 2(4), 3(3).

11 Prohibition of certain methods of killing or taking wild animals.S

(1)Subject to the provisions of this Part, if any person—

(a)sets in position [F8or otherwise uses] any self-locking snare [F9or a snare of any other type specified in an order made by the Scottish Ministers] ;

[F10(aa)sets in position or otherwise uses any other type of snare which is either of such a nature or so placed (or both) as to be calculated to cause unnecessary suffering to any animal coming into contact with it;]

(b)uses for the purpose of killing or taking any [F11animal] , any bow or cross-bow or any explosive other than ammunition for a firearm; F1 . . .

(c)uses as a decoy, for the purpose of killing or taking any wild animal, any live mammal or bird whatever, [F2 ; or

(d)knowingly causes or permits to be done an act which is mentioned in the foregoing provisions of this section,]

he shall be guilty of an offence.

(2)Subject to the provisions of this Part, if any person—

(a)sets in position any of the following articles, being an article which is of such a nature and so placed as to be [F12likely] to cause bodily injury to any wild animal included in Schedule 6 which comes into contact therewith, that is to say, any trap or snare, any electrical device for killing or stunning or any poisonous, poisoned or stupefying substance;

(b)uses for the purpose of killing or taking any such wild animal any such article as aforesaid, whether or not of such a nature and so placed as aforesaid, or any net;

(c)uses for the purpose of killing or taking any such wild animal—

(i)any automatic or semi-automatic weapon;

(ii)any device for illuminating a target or sighting device for night shooting;

(iii)any form of artificial light or any mirror or other dazzling device; or

(iv)any gas or smoke not falling within paragraphs (a) and (b);

(d)uses as a decoy, for the purpose of killing or taking any such wild animal, any sound recording; F3 . . .

(e)uses any mechanically propelled vehicle in immediate pursuit of any such wild animal for the purpose of driving, killing or taking that animal, [F4 ; or

(f)knowingly causes or permits to be done an act which is mentioned in the foregoing provisions of this subsection,]

he shall be guilty of an offence.

[F13(3)Any person who sets a snare in position or who knowingly causes or permits a snare to be so set must, while it remains in position, inspect it or cause it to be inspected at least once every day at intervals of no more than 24 hours.

(3A)Any person who, while carrying out such an inspection, finds an animal caught by the snare being inspected must, during the course of the inspection, release or remove the animal (whether live or dead).

(3B)Subject to the provisions of this Part, any person who—

(a)without reasonable excuse, contravenes subsection (3), or

(b)contravenes subsection (3A),

shall be guilty of an offence.

(3C)Subject to the provisions of this Part, any person who—

(a)is, without reasonable excuse, in possession of; or

(b)sells, or offers or exposes for sale,

a snare which is capable of operating as a self-locking snare or a snare of any other type specified in an order under subsection (1)(a) shall be guilty of an offence.

(3D)Subject to the provisions of this Part, any person who, without reasonable excuse—

(a)while on any land, has in his possession any snare without the authorisation of the owner or occupier of the land; or

(b)sets any snare in position on any land without the authorisation of the owner or occupier of the land,

shall be guilty of an offence.

(3E)Subject to the provisions of this Part, any person who uses a snare otherwise than in accordance with such requirements as may be specified in an order made by the Scottish Ministers, or who knowingly causes or permits any other person to do so, shall be guilty of an offence.]

(4)The Secretary of State may, for the purpose of complying with an international obligation, by order, either generally or in relation to any kind of wild animal specified in the order, amend subsection (1) or (2) by adding any method of killing or taking wild animals or by omitting any such method as is mentioned in that subsection.

[F14(4A)The Scottish Ministers may by order specify—

(a)criteria which articles of a type referred to in subsections (1) to (3E) must meet to be treated as articles of that type for the purposes of those subsections,

(b)circumstances in which articles of that type are to be treated as having been set or used in a manner which constitutes an offence under those subsections.]

(5)In any proceedings for an offence under subsection [F15(1)(c)] or (2)(b), (c), (d) or (e), [F6and in any proceedings for an offence under subsection (1)(d) or (2)(f) relating to an act which is mentioned in any of those paragraphs] the animal in question shall be presumed to have been a wild animal unless the contrary is shown.

(6)In any proceedings for an offence under subsection (2)(a) it shall be a defence to show that the article was set in position by the accused for the purpose of killing or taking, in the interests of public health, agriculture, forestry, fisheries or nature conservation, any wild animals which could be lawfully killed or taken by those means and that he took all reasonable precautions to prevent injury thereby to any wild animals included in Schedule 6.

[F7(7)In any proceedings for an offence under subsection (2)(f) relating to an act which is mentioned in subsection (2)(a) it shall be a defence to show that the article was set in position for the purpose of killing or taking, in the interests of public health, agriculture, forestry, fisheries or nature conservation, any wild animals which could be lawfully killed or taken by those means and that he took or caused to be taken all reasonable precautions to prevent injury thereby to any wild animals included in Schedule 6.]

Extent Information

E2This version of this provision extends to Scotland only; a separate version has been created for England and Wales only

Textual Amendments

F1 Word "or" in s. 11(1)(b) omitted (25.9.1991) by virtue of Wildlife and Countryside (Amendment) Act 1991 (c. 39, SIF 4:5), ss. 2(2)(a), 3(3).

F2 Word "or" and s. 11(1)(d) inserted (25.9.1991) by Wildlife and Countryside (Amendment) Act 1991 (c. 39, SIF 4:5), ss. 2(2)(b), 3(3).

F3 Word "or" in s. 11(2)(d) omitted (25.9.1991) by virtue of Wildlife and Countryside (Amendment) Act 1991 (c. 39, SIF 4:5), ss. 2(3)(a), 3(3).

F4 Word "or" and s. 11(2)(f) inserted (25.9.1991) by Wildlife and Countryside (Amendment) Act 1991 (c. 39, SIF 4:5), ss. 2(3)(b), 3(3).

F11 Words in s. 11(1)(b) substituted (S.) (1.10.2004) by Nature Conservation (Scotland) Act 2004 (asp 6), ss. 50, 59, Sch. 6 para.10(4); S.S.I. 2004/407, art. 2

F12 Word in s. 11(2)(a) substituted (S.) (1.10.2004) by Nature Conservation (Scotland) Act 2004 (asp 6), ss. 50, 59, Sch. 6 para.10(5); S.S.I. 2004/407, art. 2

F13 S. 11(3)-(3E) substituted (S.) (1.10.2004) for s. 11(3) by Nature Conservation (Scotland) Act 2004 (asp 6), ss. 50, 59, Sch. 6 para.10(6); S.S.I. 2004/407, art. 2

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