United Utilities Launches Review into moorland snaring ahead of AGM


23 July 2018



Warrington, UK – United Utilities has launched a review into snaring across its leased estate following pressure from customers, shareholders and wildlife campaigners. The move comes ahead of the company’s Annual General Meeting on Friday, where campaigners are set to question the company’s Board of Directors.

United Utilities has launched a review into the use of fox snares on its leased estate, which includes a number of areas used for grouse, pheasant and partridge shooting across Lancashire, Derbyshire and the Yorkshire border. The move follows pressure from customers, shareholders and wildlife campaigners for the contraptions to be banned.

Snares are controversially used on the United Utilities estate to ensure large numbers of game birds are preserved from natural predators for shooting parties. The crude ‘wire nooses’ are inhumane and scientifically-proven to cause wild-animals to suffer painful injuries, including tissue swelling, muscle haemorrhaging, fluid on the lungs resulting in breathing difficulties, skin perforation, considerable distress and even death – even when set in accordance with the law.

More than three-quarters of animals captured are non-target species, such as badgers, hares, cats, dogs and deer, according to a DEFRA report. The RSPCA opposes all use of snares as a result of the serious animal welfare implications, noting that “animals caught in snares can suffer a slow and agonising death”.

Luke Steele, Spokesperson for Ban Bloodsports on Yorkshire’s Moors, 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 and United Utilities shareholder, 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.”

Campaigners will be presenting a question to the United Utilities Board of Directors at the company’s Annual General Meeting of shareholders in Manchester on Friday.




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