When a group of us formed Ban Bloodsports on Ilkley Moor in 2014, we made a promise: our involvement with the moor would not cease once the objective of ending grouse shooting had been realised. The members of our Steering Committee are Yorkshire people, have frequented Ilkley Moor for many decades collectively and take pride in being able to help shape a better, brighter future for the jewel on our region’s crown. We will therefore continue working to promote the restoration of its wildlife, habitat, the importance of teaching younger generations about conservation and the benefits the moor brings for the local economy.
But throughout the campaign we have become acutely aware that grouse shooting is a stain on our region’s otherwise outstanding reputation of being a green and pleasant land. Yorkshire’s biodiversity and economy is being damaged by those whose only interest is in using the county as a playground for shooting birds for sport.
Our world-renowned moors are littered with traps and snares to purge them of native stoats, weasels, foxes and hares for no other purpose than to increase game bird populations for guns. Our birds of prey are being illegally shot, poisoned, trapped and having their nests destroyed, placing Yorkshire incessantly at the top of the league table for wildlife crime and leaving our national parks facing a silent spring. Our communities are being flooded as a result of widespread burning and draining of grouse moors, placing livelihoods and the regional economy in danger. Access to our countryside is being closed off to visitors during the shooting and burning seasons, blocking off vital income for businesses dependent on the tourist trade.
God’s own country is under threat from grouse shooting, but that can and will change. We have put an end to it on local authority land. Now, as Ban Bloodsports on Yorkshire’s Moors, we will ensure it is prohibited at a national level, too.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead