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Moorland Association Director guilty of illegal burning of moorland

Ben Ramsden, ex-Director of the Moorland Association, has pleaded guilty to three charges of burning deep peat on his family’s Lofthouse Moor, which lies within the East Nidderdale Moor Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). Landowners burn peat to maintain the moor for grouse shooting. Raptor Persecution UK reported that Ramsden resigned from the Moorland […]

Smoke from burning grouse moors choke Sheffield

“This is the unspeakable face of driven grouse shooting saying ‘F**k the environment, public health, wildlife and you’. Underpinned by the criminal persecution of raptors and a cause of poor water quality and flooding this despicable industry needs to end. End of. “ The above is Chris Packham’s entirely understandable response on Twitter to the […]

Scottish Greens describe grouse shooting as ‘festival of violence’

The barbaric grouse shooting season began on 12 August, the ‘Inglorious 12th’. The Scottish Green Party has sent a clear message to gamekeepers and wealthy shooters that the blood sport is not welcome in Scotland. The Scottish Greens’ rural affairs minister, Ariane Burgess MSP, didn’t mince her words when she said: “There is nothing glorious […]

Reclaim Our Moors Walk 2023 (Moscar Moor)

On August 13th, the day after the Inglorious 12th (and a Sunday so no shooting was taking place), I joined a group of ‘Reclaim Our Moors’ protestors on a short hike from Redmires Reservoir near Sheffield up onto the notorious Moscar Moor. A grouse shooting estate, Moscar has become a national symbol of the public […]

Defra cosies up to grouse shooting industry

Defra (Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs), the government department “responsible for improving and protecting the environment”, has announced the appointment of a grouse moor owner to what it describes as a ‘key role’. Heather Hancock (pictured above), a former Food Standards Agency chair and former Chief Executive of the Yorkshire Dales National Park […]

‘Moor’ bad news for grouse shooting in run up to Inglorious 12th

As we reported on July 22nd, United Utilities (UU), the largest corporate landowner in England, announced its decision to no longer renew grouse shooting leases on its moorland. The last of those leases will end in 2027, after which time UU (unless they bow to pressure from the shooting industry) will be out of the […]

Short-eared Owl shot and killed on Peak District grouse moor

The RSPB has released news of the shooting of a Short-eared Owl on  Broomhead Estate, a notorious grouse moor in the Peak District National Park. The incident took place last summer but wasn’t publicised until police investigations had concluded. The shooting was witnessed and recorded on a mobile phone by an individual birding on the […]

Natural England’s Tony Juniper: overseeing the devastation of England’s biodiversity

Tony Juniper / badger

The chair of Natural England (the government’s adviser for the natural environment in England) has hypocritically argued that England “is going to have to work much harder” if it wants to meet biodiversity targets. In his role, Tony Juniper is actively responsible for the loss of biodiversity. The Tories’ biodiversity targets have already been called […]

“Huge blow for struggling species” as yet more Hen Harriers ‘disappear’

Hen Harrier

The suspicious disappearance of two rare Hen Harriers is “a huge blow for a struggling species”, the RSPB has said. The UK’s most persecuted bird of prey, an adult Hen Harrier ‘disappeared’ from the Forest of Bowland in Lancashire on 4 May after its satellite-tag stopped transmitting, and another bird went missing in what the […]

Paltry punishment for wealthy company that deliberately burnt moor

burning grouse moor UK

A company worth almost £20 million has pleaded guilty after it deliberately burnt swathes of moorland in the Peak District. Dunlin Ltd, which owns Midhope Moors, didn’t have a licence to set fire to the land but was fined just a paltry £2,645. Dunlin’s land agents, JM Osbourne Rural and Sporting, had initially applied for […]

Hen Harriers: Illegal killing major cause of death, says RSPB

As everyone but the shooting industry acknowledges, illegal killing IS the main cause of death in Hen Harriers aged between one and two years, and a major cause of death in birds under one year, according to a new paper, published in the journal Biological Conservation, and led by the RSPB. According to a press […]

“Sickened”: Hen Harrier had head pulled off while still alive

Natural England (whose useless scheme to boost populations of the rare Hen Harrier has been slammed repeatedly by conservationists) says it is “sickened by evidence of persecution” of Hen Harriers after a staggering twenty of the rare birds ‘went missing’ from areas managed for grouse shooting in northern England in the past year. Hen Harrier […]

Scotland: Gamekeeper guilty of shooting Sparrowhawk on grouse moor

On 31 March 2023 Rory Parker (24), pleaded guilty to shooting a Sparrowhawk whilst employed as a gamekeeper on the notorious Moy Estate, Inverness – becoming the 56th gamekeeper to be convicted of raptor persecution offences in Scotland since 1990. As their name suggests, Sparrowhawks are one of the UK’s smallest birds of prey and […]

Co Durham: Red Kite found ‘peppered with shot’ on grouse moor

The RSPB has said that a Red Kite found this month peppered with lead shot in Edmundbyers, County Durham is currently fighting for their life in a bird hospital. This is the second report of a shot Red Kite in just a few days, following news that a witness saw a Red Kite being shot […]

Scotland: Red Kite shot on Lochindorb Estate

Police Scotland have appealed for information after a witness reported the shooting of a Red Kite on a grouse shooting estate near Grantown-on-Spey. The Kite was recovered by the Scottish SPCA but the gunshot injuries were so severe the bird had to be euthanised. Red Kites have full legal protection under the Wildlife and Countryside […]

Anu: yet another Hen Harrier ‘disappears’

To quote the RSPB, “Hopes dashed for vanished Hen Harrier Anu, whose tag was found cut off after roosting on grouse moor”. Anu, a satellite tagged Hen Harrier, vanished after roosting near Upper Midhope in the Peak District National Park – on land managed for driven grouse shooting. RSPB Investigations Officers located the bird’s tag […]

Gamekeepers burn moors above Sheffield

Avian Flu, declining biodiversity, and growing awareness of animal sentience, be damned. Warnings about the impacts of air pollution and microscopic smoke particulates on lung health and chronic respiratory problems, be damned. Climate change, be damned. Opportunities for local residents to enjoy the first blue skies and the first fresh air of the coming spring, […]

Hen Harrier nest attacked and chicks stamped to death

Hen Harrier and chick

North Yorkshire Hen Harrier chicks found dead with broken bones after ‘deliberate’ attack The raptor persecution hot spot of North Yorkshire (a ‘black hole for raptors‘ according to the Yorkshire Post) is in the news again following a (belated) press release from the local police. In an area dominated by grouse moors and frequent reports […]

The Killing Continues: Shooting industry driving raptor persecution

RSPB 2021 Birdcrime Report

The latest RSPB Birdcrime Report confirms that the shooting industry continues to drive the illegal persecution of birds of prey, listing 108 confirmed incidents across Britain in 2021. The tally of dead birds includes 50 Common Buzzards, 16 Red Kites, seven Peregrines and three Goshawks. Birdcrime is the UK’s only annual and comprehensive report of […]

Another satellite-tagged Hen Harrier ‘disappears’ in suspicious circumstances

Durham constabulary

Another satellite-tagged Hen Harrier ‘disappears’ in suspicious circumstances near a grouse moor. “It is believed the protected species could have been shot down or killed unlawfully.” Under the title “Officers team up with partners in search for missing hen harrier“, Durham Constabulary has posted a press release describing a multi-agency search for Sia, a satellite-tagged […]

Two days with hunt sabs stopping grouse shoots

Sabbing a grouse moor

I spent two days with hunt sabs that stopped grouse shoots by Glen Black   Each year since 2017, the Hunt Saboteurs Association has co-ordinated a national day of action against grouse shooting on 12 August. This is the so-called Glorious Twelfth, the opening day of the grouse shooting season. For 2022, though, the HSA […]

Grouse Moors and the ‘Licencing Lifeline’

grouse shooting

Grouse Moors and the ‘Licencing Lifeline’ The grouse shooting industry is not a ‘glorious’ tradition. It is the slaughter of up to half a million grouse a year, the destruction of countless native predators in traps and snares, illegal raptor persecution and poison baits, and the burning of internationally-scarce habitats. All so that a few […]

Revealed: widespread burning of peatlands despite government ban

burning moores revealed by satellite

As an avid hiker, I sometimes stumble across scorched earth in the middle of nowhere: heather moorland deliberately burnt by landowners for grouse shooting. And as an animal rights activist, I’m acutely aware of the way the shooting industry uses vast swathes of land for hunting and shooting. So new statistics about the extent of […]