ANIMAL rights campaigners ambushed the Scottish Liberal Democrats election campaign in the Borders this week to protest against the use of snares.

The League Against Cruel Sports confronted leader Tavish Scott over his party's decision to vote against a ban on the outdated practice during the last term of the Scottish Parliament during a visit to Stagehall Farm near Stow on Tuesday - with one protester dressed as a giant fox.

They demanded an end to snaring which they claim causes the needless and painful deaths of dozens of animals across the country, including the Borders, every year.

Louise Robertson, campaign manager for the League Against Cruel Sports, said: "Snaring is a huge problem in the Borders. We carry out a lot of undercover investigations and the Borders is always one of the hotspots where we pick up problematic estates that are snaring outwith the code of conduct and, as a result of that animals, are continuing to suffer needlessly and that is unacceptable by any animal welfare standards. "We are aware of cases where animals have gnawed off their limbs to escape a snare." She added: "The Liberal Democrats are not supportive of a ban but we are hoping new candidates coming through at the election will take on our views and carry that on to the next Parliament." Mr Scott was in the Borders, along with local parliamentary candidates Jeremy Purvis and Jim Hume, to promote his party's links with the local farming industry.

They met Stow farmer Nigel Miller, who was recently elected President of the National Farmers Union, and insisted farming was safe in their hands.

Mr Scott, who delivered a lamb during his tour of the farm, said: "It (the use of animal snares) is something we will keep under review. It is an important issue and I recognise people feel very strongly about it." But he added: "I was a farmer before I was elected into politics and I spent a lot of time making sure I got animal welfare right and animals were not stressed."