Animals left to rot in traps on moorland leased for grouse shooting by Yorkshire Water

Yorkshire Water is facing growing calls to stop leasing moorland for grouse shooting because of considerable damage to wildlife and the environment, including decomposing animals being left to rot in jaw-like traps on Stanbury Moor, West Yorkshire – one of thirteen owned by the company on which grouse shooting is permitted (photos available here, here, here and here).

The contraptions, which were non-compliant with official rules which mandates they are checked every 24 hours, are used to kill stoats and weasels in a bid to maximise the number of ‘game’ birds for shooting parties. According to Defra research, as part of its Agreement on International Humane Trapping Standards consultation, animals caught in these traps can take up to two minutes to die – concluding they are inhumane. The discovery comes less than a month after Yorkshire Water’s CEO, Richard Flint, provided written assurance Ban Bloodsports on Yorkshire’s Moors that the company would be reviewing practices to ensure they adhere to expected standards.

Luke Steele, Spokesperson for Ban Bloodsports on Yorkshire’s Moors, says:

“Yorkshire Water is allowing moorland across the region to be purged of native wildlife, including stoats, weasels and corvids, to preserve unhealthily-high numbers of red grouse for shooting parties. The contraptions in which decomposing wild-animals were found on Stanbury Moor were not only used in non-compliance with the rules, but are also officially recognised by the government as being inhumane.

“If Yorkshire Water wants to be recognised as taking its environmental responsibilities seriously, then ending its grouse shooting leases is the only course of action which will suffice. By removing the negative impact allowing the practice has on wildlife, habitat and the regional economy, Yorkshire Water will truly become the environmental champion it espouses to be.”

Chris Luffingham, Director of Campaigns at the League Against Cruel Sports, says:

“Yorkshire Water leasing out moorland for grouse shooting is a conservation calamity, as clearly shown by both the discovery of wild animals being left to decompose in traps, and protected habitat being destroyed – all to increase ‘game’ bird numbers for shooting parties. The reality is that there is no good way to manage moorland for grouse shooting – at its core is native wildlife being purged through trap and gun, and precious habitat being burnt, to the detriment of our country’s rich natural heritage.

“Yorkshire Water must deliver the best possible outcomes for wildlife and habitat on its land by ending its grouse shooting leases. Only then will the company truly become the environmental champion it espouses to be.”

Ban Bloodsports on Yorkshire’s Moors and the League will gather for a protest in Hebden Bridge’s St George’s Square from 11,30am on Saturday 11th August – only days before the start of the grouse shooting season opens – to demand the utility company stops leasing land for the practice, including several moors around the town. Hebden Bridge has been heavily hit by flooding, which is attributed to the damaged peatland on grouse shooting moors in the Calder Valley.

– ENDS –

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