ANIMAL rights campaigners have vowed to continue disrupting grouse shooting on Ilkley Moor after councillors rejected their pleas to ban it.
Members of Bradford Council’s executive committee today voted unanimously to allow the controversial shooting of grouse on the council-owned land to continue.
The committee decided to ban the use of traps on the moor used to kill bird predators such as stoats, weasels and other small mammals.
This was welcomed by campaign group Ban Bloodsports on Ilkley Moor which helped raise over 1,000 signatures in favour of a ban on grouse shooting.
The council decision means that the Bingley Moor Partnership can continue running grouse shoots until 2018 when the current agreement expires.
The Partnership pays the council £10,000 a year for the right to shoot grouse which partly funds the authority’s Countryside and Rights of Way service.
Senior partner at the Partnership, Edward Bromet, said he was delighted with the decision to allow grouse shooting to continue.
He said the other methods of pest control would be used to control predators.
Some pests could be controlled with shooting, he said, while trapping could still be used off Ilkley Moor.
Mr Bromet was critical of “extreme” elements of the anti grouse shooting campaign, saying they were “emotionally against shooting”.
He suggested that their campaign may actually result in more shooting because of increased demand to control pests.
“There’s an irony here. There is no logic to what they were trying to do.”
He said the campaigners had “wasted” the time of the council in calling for a review.
Mr Bromet said those who had opposed the shooting of grouse had previously committed aggravated at trespass on at least six shoots, in August last year, on Partnership land, although he said there had been no disruption to the shooting on Ilkley Moor.
Members of the group Ban Bloodsports on Ilkley Moor were putting a brave face on the defeat.
A spokesman said shooting and management activity on the moor had resulted in reduced biodiversity.
Continuing shooting until 2018 would deplete grouse numbers, he said.
“We condemn the decision to allow it to continue until 2018, given this will decimate the population of red grouse, an amber listed species awarded international protection.”
The organisation vowed to step up its campaign and is expected to disrupt grouse shooting in August.
The spokesman said today’s decision was the first step towards ending grouse shooting in 2018.
“We raise concerns that the continuation of shooting itself will result in the depletion of the red grouse population of Ilkley Moor and fails to address conflicts with moor users.”
He claimed allowing shooting on the moor was incompatible with the council’s obligation to allow open access.
“We will return to City Hall to address this and intervene to prevent shoots from taking place during the 2015 season in order to uphold the 1906 Act.”
The spokesman said that future disruption of shoots would take the form of “lawful direct action.”
Supporters of Ban Bloodsports on Ilkley Moor took to its Facebook page to show their disappointment.
One said: “They are named wildlife for a reason - not to be killed in their natural habitat.”
Another said: “Without predator control they will struggle to get the numbers of grouse they need to make shooting viable. I suspect shooting will stop long before 2018.”