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Join protests against a shooting estate where snares have trapped dogs

National Anti-Snaring Campaign (NASC) is launching a series of protests to highlight the ubiquity of snaring on a West Sussex shooting estate.

NASC announced that it is planning to hold a series of protests at Arundel Castle, West Sussex, beginning on 1 April. The group will hold further protests on 7, 15, 22 and 28 April as well as on 5, 6 and 7 May.

The estate, owned by Edward Fitzalan-Howard, also known as the Duke of Norfolk, breeds grey partridges for shooters to murder. The shooting industry views Arundel Castle as a jewel in its crown. However, as NASC has documented, the estate is littered with cruel and indiscriminate snares.

One video, published by NASC, showed a snare trapping a domestic dog.

Fortunately, in that instance, the dog’s human companion freed them. Simon Wild, founder of NASC, told a local paper in 2016 that snares had trapped at least two domestic dogs at the estate.

Wild told Protect the Wild:

“As with grouse moors, there are very high levels of predator control in order to promote wild partridge, so hundreds of traps and snares exist in much of the woodland. There are few badgers, and the snaring has undoubtedly played a part in their demise. Numerous dogs, deer and hares have also been snared. We have presented a large petition calling on a snare ban on the Duke’s estate but this has been ignored, as have all appeals to ban snares on the estate.”

Paid for cruelty

Other creatures at the estate haven’t been as lucky. Another NASC video showed hares, deer, and even pheasants are victim to snares. The video also includes an interview with a dog-walker that found a fox snared and left to die. A semicircle of trodden-down crop where the fox attempted to escape the snare is clearly seen. And at the end of the video, a snare is shown set along the path of a badger run.

Despite clear evidence of criminality, the Duke of Norfolk has faced few legal repercussions. In fact, he’s benefited from huge amounts of public money.

Fitzalan-Howard has received hundreds of thousands of pounds in public subsidies for his Arundel estate. Defra’s latest figures, for 2020, show it paid him over £228,000 for his land in West Sussex. And as Who Owns England? previously published, the figure for 2015 was even higher at nearly £260,000 – though this was under the preceding ‘single area payment scheme’, which was evaluated on slightly different criteria.

Nonetheless, both figures represent grants from public money for doing little more than owning the land. And, in the Duke of Norfolk’s case, committing that land to widespread animal cruelty. Additionally, NASC said the Arundel estate has received money for countryside stewardship grants that are “designed to promote conservation”.

None of this is exceptional amongst shooting estate owners, of course. But Fitzalan-Howard’s brazenness with snares and other cruel devices is particularly notable.

Defra payments to Norfolk Estate Farms, the registered owner of Arundel estate, via screenshot.

The time has come

The dates of NASC’s protests lead up to and coincide with the coronation of King Charles. This isn’t accidental. The Duke of Norfolk is the most senior peerage in the UK, and Fitzalan-Howard will play an instrumental role in Charles’ coronation event. As a result, Wild said:

“We feel the time has come for protests outside the castle with information provided to the public. The Duke will be high profile and so it is time people saw there is a darker side to his vast shooting estate.”

Please check out NASC’s Facebook page to stay updated on the forthcoming protests.

Featured image via NASC/YouTube