ANIMAL-KILLING snares have officially been banned on council-owned land in Worcester - after the city council's leadership labelled them "inhumane".

From today the snares, which have been used for decades around the UK to trap pests like rats, cannot be used on any land owned by the authority.

The policy, which has been eight months in the making, was approved by the Conservative cabinet last night.

During the debate Councillor Andy Roberts, cabinet member for the environment, revealed his own personal horror story over snares from when he was a child.

"As a very, very young lad, boys were allowed to roam fields and do all sorts of things they can't do now," he said.

"I remember coming across one badger which was still alive but was caught in a snare, it was slowly dying and couldn't move, and was trying to eat anything within distance.

"It was a strong animal but with its winter coat on, it wasn't strong enough to throttle itself and die.

"Against all the advice we managed to let it free, the animal actually let us do it, and it staggered off.

"You don't forget these things - what we saw that day was incredibly improper, and that's why I support this."

He added: "I support this measure, that as a major landowner we support a ban on the use of snares and show leadership on this issue."

The rest of the cabinet agreed, saying the practise was considered cruel and outdated.

Councillor David Wilkinson, cabinet member for safer and stronger communities, said: "In this day and age it's incredibly important that we are mindful of the way animals are treated."

The council does not use snares now, but up until this week has never had a formal policy banning their use.

It means organisations which lease facilities on council-owned land will have clauses written into their contracts to reflect the ban.

Councillor Simon Geraghty, the leader, said: "As a responsible landowner, we don't use snares, but we've never codified that into a policy.

"I don't want anyone to think we ever have or ever would use these inhumane practices ourselves, we don't, but this crystallises that."

The process towards a snares ban kicked off back in February when Councillor Neil Laurenson, from the Green Party, won backing for a motion at full council.

At the time, 10 councillors abstained, but it was forced through anyway, and also led to managing director Duncan Sharkey writing to the Government to ask that the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 be changed to outlaw their use.

For decades snares have been a popular way to control predators, usually foxes, but there has long been concern they injure other animals like cats, dogs, cows and badgers.

The League Against Cruel Sports managed to get 50,000 people to sign an online petition last year calling for a UK-wide ban, and DEFRA has also produced a report on the matter saying their use is considered inhumane