Wales is on track to become the first country in the UK to ban the use of snares, with politicians voting on Tuesday to pass legislation to deliver greater protection for wildlife.

The vote to ban snares was part of the stage three debate on the Agriculture (Wales) Bill, during which amendments designed to water down the snares ban were defeated.

Welsh Minister for Rural Affairs Lesley Griffiths has previously said “a complete ban is the only way forward” and led opposition to amendments to allow the licensed use of snares for catching foxes and other wild mammals during this week’s vote.

The resulting vote saw the majority of Assembly Members reject the proposed amendments by 38 votes to 14.

“Wales will be the first country in the UK to introduce a complete ban on the use of snares,” Lesley Griffiths said. “These devices catch animals indiscriminately, causing a great deal of suffering, and they are not compatible with the high animal welfare standards we strive for here in Wales.”

The move to ban snares has been widely welcomed as a victory for wildlife by nature protection organisations including Wild Moors, Animal Aid and the League Against Cruel Sports.

The legislative process now moves on to the fourth and final stage in which the Senedd is expected to ratify the bill as early as next week, subject to the King’s consent.