125,000 urge Yorkshire Water to ban grouse shooting
Over 125,000 people have signed a petition urging Yorkshire Water to ban grouse shooting on moorland across the region.
Ban Bloodsports on Yorkshire’s Moors, which started the petition, says wildlife is being eradicated and peatland damaged by burning on the company’s land to boost red grouse populations for shooting. Investigations by campaigners on 8 of the 11 moors leased for grouse shooting by Yorkshire Water have revealed stoats being left to rot in bone-breaking traps, distressed wild birds caught in cage traps and burning performed over sensitive blanket bog habitat. A tawny owl was also found shot dead on one of the company’s grouse moors. Yorkshire Water announced a review of the future of grouse shooting on Baitings, Turley Holes & Higher House Moors in Calderdale in March, which BBYM has welcomed as a step in the right direction, but says it’s not enough. The utility company is facing pressure to broaden out its review to encompass its other grouse shooting leases. Luke Steele, Spokesperson for BBYM, comments: “Wild animals are being eradicated and sensitive peatland damaged on Yorkshire Water’s moors to ensure red grouse make it up into the air to be used as feathered targets. With over 125,000 people asking Yorkshire Water to protect - not persecute - wildlife and habitat, it’s time for the company to pull the plug on grouse shooting. “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. Only by removing the negative impact allowing grouse shooting has on wildlife and the environment will Yorkshire Water truly become the environmental champion it espouses to be.” The issue of grouse shooting has become increasingly controversial with a number of high profile landowners across the region already distancing themselves from the practice. NG Bailey ended grouse shooting arrangements on the Denton Park Estate in Wharfedale in March, following a similar decision by Bradford Council last spring to ban grouse shooting on Ilkley Moor. Campaigners will hold a day of action in 17 towns and cities across the county this weekend to urge Yorkshire Water to pull the plug on grouse shooting.