United Utilities PLC Slammed for allowing snares to be used on Grouse Moors they Own.


26 June 2018

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 Warrington, UK – Wildlife protection organisations have slammed United Utilities for allowing snares on moorland across the Forest of Bowland, Peak District and Yorkshire border. The deadly ‘wire nooses’ are used to increase red grouse populations for shooting by removing native predators.

United Utilities has been slammed by wildlife protection groups for permitting snares to be used on moorland leased for grouse shooting. The North West Raptor Protection Group (NWRPG), Ban Bloodsports on Yorkshire’s Moors (BBYM) and League Against Cruel Sports (LACS) are urging the company to prohibit the cruel contraptions, controversially used to catch foxes on game shooting estates to preserve large numbers of grouse for gun parties. Hundreds of people have taken to UU’s social media to support the call, prompting the company to launch a  review into whether the devices being set on its land are compliant with wildlife law.

Whilst snares are targeted at foxes, these wild animals only represent 25 per cent of those caught in the indiscriminate contraptions, according to a DEFRA report. The other three-quarters include badgers, hares, cats, dogs and deer. The devices cause animals to suffer injuries including tissue swelling, muscle haemorrhaging, fluid on the lungs resulting in breathing difficulties, skin perforation and death – even when set in accordance with the law. The RSPCA supports a national ban on their use, noting that “animals caught in snares can suffer a slow and agonising death”.

Luke Steele, Spokesperson for BBYM, comments: “United Utilities permitting snares on its moorland not only causes considerable suffering to those foxes caught, but places other wildlife – including badgers, hares and deer – at risk also. These actions are not only inhumane, but serve no conservation purpose – with many successful former-shooting moors hosting curlew, dunlin and other specialist wildlife without resorting to such methods. The company must do the right thing for wildlife by prohibiting snares.”

Terry Pickford, Co-Founder of North West Raptor Protection Group, comments: “As an organisation committed to protecting wildlife in the North West of England, we implore United Utilities to implement a ban on snares. These cruel contraptions are used to remove native species and increase red grouse populations for shooting – causing considerable suffering to foxes, badgers, deer and even people’s pets in the process. They have no place in modern day conservation.”

Nick Weston, Head of Campaigns at League Against Cruel Sports, comments: “I regularly see horrific images of wild animals and family pets having lost limbs, or even their life, after being caught in a snare. It is estimated by the League that well over a million animals could be being trapped every year, and by allowing snaring on its land, United Utilities are likely to be contributing to this number. Despite its slogan ‘letting life flow smoothly’, these traps do anything but, and it’s time for United Utilities to put an end to this disgraceful practice and stop advocating animal cruelty.”

United Utilities leases ten moorlands across the Forest of Bowland, Peak District and South Pennines for grouse shooting.


2 comments to United Utilities PLC Slammed for allowing snares to be used on Grouse Moors they Own.

  • Shaun Ankers

    May I suggest that if UU don’t respond in a positive manner by bringing in a ban on snares, at the very least, that a petition is started directed at UU? The on-going petition started by BBYM seems to have had an impact on Yorkshire Water so it surely must be worth a try? I would support it and promote it to friends, family and strangers, whether they want to listen or not!

    Editor’s Comment. Shaun, we would support such a move wholeheartedly, and we are sure our UU shareholder followers would do the same.

  • Shaun Ankers

    I think that such a petition would need to be started by one of the interested groups like Raptor Politics or perhaps a large UU shareholder with the backing of an interested group or at the very least by someone who can mount a campaign on a par with the one being run by BBYM, which sadly I can’t manage to do, though I’m willing to help whoever starts such a petition as best I can through social media etc.