Author: Charlie

Portrait of a fox cub on grouse moor

A beautiful wild animal on an upland, photographed exploring the world it’s just been born in? No, yet another victim of grouse shooting. A tweet from the grassroots community network Moorland Monitors says it all really: another dead animal on a grouse moor, shot dead after being trapped in a snare. This cub was found by the Calder Valley Hunt Saboteurs on a snare site near Hebden Bridge. It will be just one of thousands of fox cubs killed this month to protect the grouse shooting industry’s profits.

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Who eats all the soya?

One of the biggest drivers of biodiversity loss is habitat loss to agriculture – in other words, enormous changes to natural habitats to grow our food. It’s estimated that as recently as 1000 years ago, less than 4% of the world’s ice-free and non-barren land area was used for farming. Now we have taken nearly HALF of all habitable land on the planet for our agriculture. The vast Cerrado region of Brazil, for example, once covered an area half the size of Europe, but around half the native savannah and forest of the Cerrado has been converted to agriculture since the late 1950s. Converted mainly for beef cattle ranching and to grow soybeans. Since the 1950s global soybean production has increased 15 times over. But who – or what – is eating all those beans…?

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Badger Cull and the Bern Convention

The Badger Trust, Born Free and the advocacy group Eurogroup for Animals, lodged a complaint against the British government under the terms of the Bern Convention in December 2019. The Shadow Environment Secretary Luke Pollard also wrote to the Bureau of the Bern Convention in early September this year claiming the Government was “in breach of its international obligation to protect vulnerable wildlife” adding “there is no scientific or ethical justification for continuing with the cruel and unnecessary badger cull”. Which begs the question: what is the Bern Convention and why do campaigners believe it might be used to protect badgers from culling? We thought we ought to find out…

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Barnsley Council backs ban on grouse moor burning

Ban Bloodsports on Yorkshire’s Moors has announced that Barnsley council has joined the extensive roll-call of councils and public utilities to back a ban on the rotational burning of the nation’s uplands. Burning is a tool used by the grouse industry to ensure young heather shoots for their grouse ‘farms’, but it is linked with habitat destruction, the deaths of rare reptiles, smoke pollution, flooding in communities below the moorlands, and is incompatible with the UK’s stance on the global climate emergency. We have just published a timely podcast with Luke Steele, Director and spokesperson of Ban Bloodsports here, which looks at burning as well as the option of licencing grouse shoots.

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Podcast: Luke Steele | Ban Bloodsports on Yorkshire’s Moors Update Oct 2020

As part of The War on Wildlife Project we’ve been writing about the calls being made by councils across northern England to ban the deliberate setting of fires on grouse moors by the grouse shooting industry. Recently Kirklees council joined Sheffield, York, Calderdale, and Wakefield Councils, plus the Mayor of Doncaster, in calling for a ban. It’s taken hard work and a great deal of support…and one of the key figures who’s been working tirelessly behind the scenes, talking with councils as well as moorland-owning utilities like Yorkshire Water, is Luke Steele, Director and spokesperson for Ban Bloodsports on Yorkshire’s Moors. Charlie Moores talked with Luke about burning and the potential licencing of grouse shoots…

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Natural England protects shoot from ‘disturbance’

A tweet showing a Natural England sign which restricts access to land to ‘avoid disturbance to game and disruption to shooting’ has (rightly) gone viral (kudos @KeggieC). What on earth is Natural England – the government’s adviser for the natural environment in England. “We help to protect and restore our natural world” – doing? A quick internet search leads us to a Notice of Relevant Authority Decision following review of Direction restricting CROW Access rights, and that’s when things really start to stink…It turns out the public is shut out of open access land because there may be disturbance to non-native birds ‘pre-season’, during the season, and possible disruption to the shoot on shoot days! Shut out BY NATURAL ENGLAND. Because of DISTURBANCE to a bloody shoot. Astounding…

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