March 6 Letters: Shooting only brings death to moors’ wildlife

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From: Luke Steele, Spokesperson & Co-Founder, Ban Bloodsports on Ilkley Moor, Leeds

IN response to the letter from Mr J Shires querying whether shooting has helped to conserve Ilkley Moor (The Yorkshire Post, February 28), it can be safely asserted that bloodsports and efforts to preserve wildlife could not be further apart.

Ecological research conducted on Ilkley Moor in 2012 compared biodiversity before and after the letting of grouse shooting rights in 2008. It showed a significant decrease in biodiversity, including a lack of protected birds of prey, such as hen harriers and red kites, which was attributed to predator control employed by gamekeepers.

A further study analysed records of vegetation on the moor between 1964 and 1984. It concluded there was evidence to suggest degradation of some plant species as a result of environmental factors, including a focus on heather growth for the breeding of game birds.

Ban Bloodsports on Ilkley Moor is an organisation comprised of long-term users of the moor and former guns and beaters who no longer take part in game shooting because of the ecological damage caused.

The conservation of Ilkley is intrinsically linked to our appeals for grouse shooting to be prohibited.