Posts Tagged ‘Shooting Estates’

Our wildlife is under constant pressure. Pressure from development and the demand for new land due to human expansion, the pressure of modern farming where if it doesn’t make money it’s considered a nuisance and the pressure of those who treat the environment as a plaything, to do with as they wish regardless of the long term consequences. This malevolent force is the same which releases millions of non-native birds into our ecosystems every year, with little chance of survival, purely for the benefit of a very small demographic with the sufficient funds and a love for killing, so they can be blasted from the sky purely for the enjoyment of killing a living thing. These people of course would never do their own dirty work, that is of course down to that most strange and disturbed individual better known as the Gamekeeper. Their sole purpose in life is to protect their valuable crop of Pheasants (or Grouse depending on where you are in the country) from anything which they perceive may do them harm or just be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Raptors suffer hugely at the hands of Gamekeepers, illegally persecuted with little chance of retribution although the RSPB and similar organisations are doing their best to bring these people to justice and with some success although seem to fail to take on the shooting industry directly. However what isn’t seen is the tragically legal persecution of our other species which goes on out of sight of the public. A grotesque yet common practice of trapping and snaring anything which just happens to inhabit the same piece of woodland where the pheasant pens are located.


A detailed report with video and photos came into my possession which has to be put into the public domain. A small section of woodland was discovered which contained no less than 7 Larsen traps and various other cages (some containing live Magpies, designed to catch Corvids), over 10 Fen traps all set and some baited with eggs (these are designed to kill Weasels, Stoats and Rats) and most disgustingly 8 free running snares secured with breeze blocks or other heavy items. Snares are massively cruel and indiscriminate. Anything can become trapped in them and will then go on to suffer a slow and agonizing death or if they’re lucky something slightly less offensive in the form of the Gamekeepers shotgun or blunt instrument to the head. Deer, Foxes and Badgers can all fall prey to snares and family pets are just as likely should they wander in these areas. All of the devices described surrounded a Pheasant pen which in turn was surrounded by lots of shooting towers. Even though the pens were empty of Pheasants, the traps were still in operation.

The images are somewhat disturbing. The stench of death I’m told, will stay with those who were there for a long time to come. If you think this is an acceptable way to treat our wildlife then stop reading now, go back to reading your Daily Mail and prepare to vote UKIP or Tory in May. For everyone else with a decent level of compassion to our fellow beings I suggest you get involved and start to make a difference. Soon our wonderful and diverse countryside and the wildlife that lives in it will be diminished beyond a sustainable level, to be replaced with a sterile environment, overrun with a hapless non-native species and only good for those who like to kill things for fun. This is happening all over the country, what we’ve witnessed here is just a microcosm of the organised and systematic destruction of our native species. This is the true impact of the shooting industry and it’s time to make a change.

Sign the petition to ban snares here.

It doesn’t really seem to matter what the species, it could fly in the air, run in our fields, climbs the trees in our woodland or swim in the seas and rivers, somewhere there will be someone calling for a cull of some sort to protect their interests. Last week Natural England finally grew a pair and denied the request to kill Buzzards to protect game shooting interests. The very fact that this estate and the keepers on it had the front to request an application to cull says everything about them; arrogant and completely lacking in any ecological understanding. Pheasants represent the largest biomass of birds in the country, with 40 million or so birds released every year only to be blasted from the sky by a select, privileged few or to meet another grizzly end under the wheels of cars or starvation as they have little idea on how to survive without the help of man. Those shot rarely even make it to the dining table, we simply cannot consume that many so most will end up in a stink pit dug in an out of the way area of a shooting estate. The impact of the Buzzard is minimal to say the least, around 3% according to statistics but I suspect they already know this and just want to wipe out any natural predators from the estate. I’ll leave this subject with a link to the excellent blog from Mark Avery who can explain the issue in a far more eloquent manner than myself. Please sign the petition included on his site. (Click here)

Now I’m hearing that there is call for a cull of seals in the West Country. The fishermen say they’re having an impact on their livelihood. Well, quite frankly tough shit. Seals eat fish, everyone knows that and you can’t expect to put it on a plate and then for them to not adapt. Perhaps if we hadn’t raped the seas quite so badly there’d be more fish to go round and the seals wouldn’t need to find their food in this manner.

The arguments always seem to be the same regardless of species, the population is out of control . . . we can’t survive economically if we don’t cull . . . they’re the cause of disease . . . other species are suffering due to them. It is of course all complete nonsense and propaganda devised to get Joe Public on side and while it pains me to see how little many people seem to care there is enough of us to know the truth and seek to get these facts into the public domain and take direct action should it be required.

Dead Seal, illegally killed

Dead Seal, illegally killed

The shooting of seals buy the Scottish Wild Salmon Company was expertly brought to an end by fine work from both the Hunt Saboteurs and Sea Shepherd recently and any attempt at a repeat performance in other parts of the UK will be faced with similar operations. If we as a species cannot adapt our lifestyles in order to fit in with the larger environmental picture then we don’t deserve to exist at all. Economic interests should NEVER take precedence over the natural world. We’re far too quick to reach for the gun when other non-lethal means may be at our disposal.

In other news I can but keep both my finger and toes crossed in the hope David Cameron finally sees some sort of sense and gets rid of Owen Paterson as Environment Secretary in the forthcoming cabinet reshuffle. He’s been a complete disaster from day one and with the election coming up and the Tories desperate to regain some of their recent loses Cameron should be looking to make the party as electable as possible. Of course his replacement could well be equally incompetent, arrogant or pig headed, it is after all the Tories we’re talking about.

My final comment isn’t environmental at all. I just wanted to pay my respects to someone who made me howl with laughter throughout my teens as a student and into later life through a whole host of characters brought to life in manner only he could. Rik Mayall you will be missed. It’s only right Ade Edmondson gets the final word.

“There were times when Rik and I were writing together when we almost died laughing.”

“They were some of the most carefree stupid days I ever had, and I feel privileged to have shared them with him.”

“And now he’s died for real. Without me. Selfish bastard.”