Forty moorland monitors took to Stanbury Moor on Saturday to oppose wildlife persecution on Yorkshire Water’s land (photos here).
Wildlife campaigners from Ban Bloodsports on Yorkshire’s Moors and local moorland monitors descended on the moor to document traps, snares and piles of decomposing animal carcasses – left out by gamekeepers to lure natural predators in to their deaths.
Gamekeepers on the popular moor—leased out to the controversial Walshaw Moor Estate, which is facing a government probe into environmental damage—have begun an annual drive to kill off native wildlife which interferes with grouse shooting operations.
Large numbers of foxes, stoats, weasels, corvids and hare will be killed on the moor this spring and summer because they compete with red grouse.
Yorkshire Water was forced to admit wild animals are being killed on its land to conserve game birds for shooting, following campaigners installing notices warning visitors of animal traps last week. The company faced a stream of complaints on social media as a result.
Luke Steele, Spokesperson for BBYM, comments:
“Stanbury Moor draws in visitors from across the region who take leisure among the surroundings and admire historic attractions like Top Withens and the Brontë Falls. Yet Yorkshire Water is callously allowing hundreds of deadly traps and snares to be set across this popular moorland to kill off wildlife which interferes with its grouse shooting tenancy.
“If Yorkshire Water wants to be recognised as taking its environmental responsibilities seriously, then ending its grouse shooting leases it the only course of action which will suffice. Only by completely removing the negative impact allowing the practice has on wildlife and habitat, will Yorkshire Water truly become the environmental champion it espouses to be.”
Grouse shooting has become increasingly contentious in recent years because of the widespread negative impact on wildlife, the environment and local communities.
A number of high profile landowners across the region, including Bradford Council and NG Bailey, have stopped leasing land for the practice. Over 100,000 people have contacted Yorkshire Water to urge the company to follow on.