Dozens of camaigners opposed to wildlife cruelty took to the moors above Pendle at the weekend near to a local grouse shooting estate.
Forty moorland monitors took to the Walshaw and Lancashire Moor grouse shooting estate near Colne on Saturday to oppose wildlife persecution.
Wildlife campaigners from Ban Bloodsports on Yorkshire’s Moors and Calderdale Moorland Monitors descended on the moor to document traps, snares and piles of decomposing animal carcasses - left out by gamekeepers to lure natural predators in to their deaths.
Gamekeepers on the popular moor have begun an annual drive to kill off native wildlife which interferes with grouse shooting operations. Large numbers of foxes, stoats, weasels, corvids and hare will be killed on the moor this spring and summer because they compete with red grouse.
Moorland has also been set on fire to boost red grouse populations for shooting - a practice which drives out native wildlife, damages sensitive peatland habitat and contributes to flooding.
The Walshaw and Lancashire Moor Estate is currently at the centre of a government probe into environmental damage inflicted during burning over rare blanket bog. Plans for a controversial ‘grouse shooting highway’ across sensitive moorland habitat were defeated by campaigners in January.
Luke Steele, spokesman for BBYM, said: “Pendle draws in visitors from across the region who take leisure among the surroundings and admire the scenic views. Yet gamekeepers are setting hundreds of deadly traps and snares across popular moorland above the valley to kill off native wildlife which interferes with grouse shooting operations.
“There is only one way to manage moorland for grouse shooting and that’s through eradicating native wildlife and burning away precious habitat, as the expense of biodiversity and the region’s natural flood barrier. The conservation calamity being inflicted by grouse shoots on Pendle’s world-famous moorland has to stop - enough is enough.”
Grouse shooting has become increasingly contentious in recent years because of the widespread negative impact on wildlife, the environment and local communities.
A number of high profile landowners across the region, including Bradford Council and NG Bailey, have stopped leasing land for the practice.