- Councillor Val SlaterExecutive & Portfolio Holder
Ban Bloodsports on Ilkley Moor
We, the undersigned, call on Bradford Metropolitain District Council to ban grouse shooting and related predator control on Ilkley Moor for the following reasons:
1) Bloodsports - such as grouse shooting where birds are shot out of the sky for entertainment - are inherently cruel. The related capture of animals - such as stoats, weasels and small mammals - in Fenn traps and lamping of foxes also causes suffering. Ilkley Moor must be used to educate people about wildlife, not kill wildlife.
2) Ilkley Moor is an area for walkers to enjoy and people to learn. The rights of walkers must take priority over bloodsports.
3) The undertaking of bloodsports and related trapping on public land is unsafe, to the point of mortality, and causes bad publiclity for the area.
- Executive & Portfolio Holder
Councillor Val Slater
I write to you in relation to the permission which has been granted to the Bingley Moor Partnership to conduct grouse shooting on Ilkley Moor. As you are evidently aware, Ilkley Moor is publicly owned property. It is my request that the council ban bloodsports from the land for the reasons contained herein.
Grouse shooting and the attached methods of moorland management are inherently cruel. The notion of people walking around with guns to shoot birds for entertainment is repulsive, let alone a pursuit which causes great suffering to the animals killed.
In order to maintain artificially high numbers of grouse, species which eat the birds and their eggs are captured in jaw-like Fenn traps. They are persecuted simply for doing what comes natural to their survival – eating. The Bingley Moor Partnership have publicly acknowledged that they do not check the traps twenty traps on Ilkley Moor on a daily basis. This callous practice means animals are injured and dehydrated for days on end and, in some occasions, left to die from their injuries. Such a blasé attitude towards the suffering of animals breaches official guidelines to gamekeepers produced by the British Association of Shooting & Conservation (BASC).
In addition, the management techniques used interfere with the ecosystem of Ilkley Moor and the surrounding region to the extent of biodiversity decreasing. Species removed are vital sources of food for birds of prey – such as red kites and raptors – who normally thrive in a moorland environment.
The conduction of shoots on a popular public moor is unsafe. Grouse drives are located only meters from – or in some cases across – well-used footpaths. Permitting the use of up to ten guns at a time in such an areas places walkers at risk of serious injury, if not death. In addition, the lead shotgun cartridges are used as ammunition. Should one be incorrectly discarded, it would be extremely poisonous if digested by a child.
Further, the trapping of predator species in Fenn traps is performed only meters away from public footpaths. As I am sure you are aware, Ilkley Moor is a favourite spot for dog walkers. One can only imagine the outcry if somebody's beloved pet was caught in error.
Lastly, the association of such an iconic moor with bloodsports is damaging to the town's reputation and subsequently tourism. The aforementioned safety and cruelty aspects are not fitting with the publicly-spirited reputation of Ilkley Moor portrayed in visitor brochures.
As you are no doubt aware, Bradford MDC have already received numerous complaints from walkers who have been subject to aggressive and rude behaviour by the Bingley Moor Partnership's gamekeepers. In addition to this walkers are being prevented from using footpaths during shoots. This is hardly a welcoming display, let alone an acknowledgement of walker's rights.
Students performing important scientific research in this Designated Area of Special Scientific Interest have also been warned off the land by gamekeepers. Such behaviour seriously undermines the use of the moor as an educational asset.
With the Tour de France passing through Ilkley shortly there is an expected increase in tourism – and revenue – during and following the event. Is this something which should be risked, all to continue the enjoyment of a few shooters?
Many thanks for taking the time to listen to my concerns and I request a decision is made immediately to ban grouse shooting on Ilkley Moor.
I anticipate your public response.
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