Author: Charlie Moores

Petition | Protect Manx Mountain Hares

Mountain Hares, recently given limited protection in Scotland, were reintroduced onto the Isle of Man in the 1950s. They are apparently now confined to island’s northern hills and are not found in the south of the island, the central valley forming an apparently effective barrier. However the species is declining across most of its UK range, and determining the status of the island’s remaining hares has become a priority. Should the Manx government reclassify them from vermin (which they should never have been classified as in the first place) to ‘game’ (ie they can still be shot for entertainment) or ‘protected’ (animals classified as protected cannot be injured or killed under the island’s Wildlife Act)? Shooting lobbyists, including members of the Manx Parliament, would of course like to see these gentle creatures listed as ‘game’, but the Manx Wildlife Trust has said that would “not go far enough” and, that following their re-introduction in the 1950s, the Island now supports “a small but potentially vital population”.

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Nada Farhoud | Daily Mirror’s Evironment Editor attacked online

“I’ve been called a liar, accused of being in the pocket of anti-bloodsport campaigners and not understanding the countryside because I live by the sea. And apparently I have an agenda because I like birdwatching.” The Daily Mirror’s Environment Editor Nada Farhoud describing the reaction from pro-shoot lobbyists to an article she wrote looking at moorland burning last week. As we and others predicted, shooting was bound to turn to the usual unfounded and personal attacks: she is a liar, townies don’t understand, she ‘just’ wants shooting banned, blah blah, blah. While Nada hasn’t gone into specific details it’s not difficult to speculate which other lines shooting’s attack dogs might also have crossed.

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Snaring in the news again

Literally every week more examples of poor snaring practice are highlighted in the media. Two such examples have been highlighted across social media this weekend by the Hunt Investigation Team and Moorland Monitors. In the first, a badger was found trapped in a snare which was “wrapped around its neck”. In the second, a dog was caught on in a snare set on Access Land on Kinder – National Trust land in the infamous wildlife crime hotspot of the Peak District ‘national park’. Incidents like this are understandably always upsetting for the owners of companion animals, but let’s also acknowledge that the snare was set to do exactly what it did: trap an animal. Dogs and foxes are closely related. they share the same capacity for sentience, for fear, for feeling pain. Unlike a pet that is (under most circumstances) fed and looked after by an owner, a wild animal has no choice but to hunt to feed itself and its family though. Countless thousands of foxes are being trapped and are suffering in snares like this every week, drawn to the overabundance of prey that shoots ‘provide’.

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Daily Mirror | Burning Britain’s moorland like ‘cutting down rainforest’

“Across the parched moors, now a tinderbox, all I can see is smoke.” That’s a line from an article published in the Daily Mirror which heavily criticises the routine torching of one of the UK’s most precious habitats simply so that a few people can blast living targets out of the sky. The article in the paper is well illustrated (while not all the images are connected with burning, they do all set the scene well) and actually reads like the personal experience it is, rather than the typical amalgam of press-releases re-written to produce a ‘balanced’ report that says little of interest. So kudos Nada Farhoud, the paper’s Environment Editor, for going on-site and seeing for herself the ecological and climate damage being wrought by the driven grouse shooting industry. The shooting industry will hate the article, and given the ferocity that lobbyists have been going after anyone who dares to question their version of ‘burning is conservation’ or ‘burning is best for the environment’, Nada’s inbox is no doubt being flooded with emails slamming her. And given the disgusting treatment meted out to Raptor Persecution UK’s Ruth Tingay by shooters defending their ludicrous pastime, no doubt those emails will contain some deeply unpleasant and offensive sentiments.

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Podcast: Wild Animal Welfare Committee 2021 Conference Preview | Dr Pete Goddard

Back in early 2019 I attended a conference in Edinburgh organised by the charity Wild Animal Welfare Committee or WAWC which was discussing broad issues around the central theme of ‘Who are the Guardians of Wild Animal Welfare?’. I found their conference and the topics being discussed absolutely fascinating. Two years later – on April 19th – WAWC will be regrouping for another conference – this time, because of the pandemic, entirely online. I contacted WAWC and asked if we could do a preview podcast – both because I wanted to learn more about was planned and because it might hopefully inspire a few more registrations for what I am sure will be a really worthwhile day.

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Quorn Hunt | Arrogant, utterly deluded, or both?

You know that lockdown thing that the vast majority of us have been so, so careful not to break – you know, because we don’t want to pass on a potentially deadly disease, because infection rates only come down if we accept that we’re all ‘in this together’, because it’s unquestionably the right thing to do, because very few of us think that the law doesn’t apply to us? Yes, that lockdown. Guess what…hunt masters at the ‘prestigious (though we would typically use ‘renowned’) Quorn Hunt appear to believe that absolutely none of that applies to them…How else to explain the utterly imbecilic behaviour of two of the Quorn’s hunt masters who got all dressed up to break lockdown and actually recorded themselves cheering on their hounds scrabbling around a foxhole or badger sett.

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Jumblebee | Raising funds for foxhunts

We’re back from annual leave and want to get back into the swing of things by highlighting a League Against Cruel Sports investigation of auction and fundraising site Jumblebee. We should say from the outset that there is no question here of Jumblebee engaging in any illegal activity, but the League’s interest has been piqued by discovering that eighteen fox hunts have held online auctions on Jumblebee’s website, raising more than £120,000. A separate auction for the International Hounds Show last year raised £83,000 for hunts around the world and the Masters of Foxhounds Association. This is a massive sum for a ‘community’ that does routinely break the law (and have been caught out again and again doing so) and which has been desperate to replace funds lost because of lockdown and the ban on meets.

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Brown Hares | Protection at last? We’ve been here before…

An article in a leading national newspaper suggests a “New move to ban shooting of hares in breeding season”. It goes on to say, “The nation’s deep affection for the hare, once a common sight in fields, is recorded in prose, pub names and poetry. Writers including Shakespeare, Lewis Carroll and Ted Hughes have paid tribute to the UK’s fastest land mammal, while any English county will boast at least one pub with the word hare in its name. But now a failure to revive numbers after a century of decline from an estimated four million to under 800,000 has triggered moves to protect hares during their breeding season. Former agriculture minister George Eustice is introducing a private member’s bill that would make it illegal to shoot hares from February to September.” Good news, but before we celebrate too hard haven’t we been promised this before? Yes, we have. And the above quote is actually from an article in The Guardian dated 5th May 2019…

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