Hen Harriers need protecting ahead of ‘Glorious Twelfth’ – Yorkshire Post Letters
THE plight of a graceful bird of prey led to Hen Harrier Day to highlight illegal persecution. It’s held annually close to the start of the grouse-shooting season on August 12. Sheffield’s boundaries extend out to the grouse-shooting moors which saw a surge in wildlife crime during lockdown.
There was a likely poisoning of a buzzard and two peregrines, a short eared owl and buzzard were shot and four raven chicks died after both parents mysteriously disappeared. Grouse moorland is managed by burning which increases flood risk and increases air pollution while sending C02 into the atmosphere.
Destruction of wildlife and environment for grouse-shooting is completely at odds with providing a natural, balanced, healthy space for the benefit of the wider population seeking urgent action to address the climate emergency and biodiversity crisis.
Yet our Government drags its feet on banning burning. It’s outrageous that the four grouse moors within Sheffield’s boundaries receive a total of £663,000 a year taxpayers’ money in agricultural subsidies.
The Peak District National Park Authority spends £107,000 of taxpayers’ money on predator control programmes and the National Trust recruits grouse-shooting tenants.
There isn’t a single public body that condemns grouse-shooting for a catalogue of crime and the mismanagement of our uplands. All the key players ensure that business as usual is maintained, despite increasing public outrage as tracked birds of prey disappear over this land. A rewilded landscape would allow us to see rare birds more often like the bearded vulture recently sighted on Howden Moors. They are attracted to the Peak Park but are they safe here now?
Hen Harrier Day is your opportunity to force change. It’s supported by organisations such as Wild Justice who simply ask that our laws are respected by Government bodies.
As the TV presenter and campaigner Chris Packham has said: “I’m sick of the continued illegal persecution of birds of prey and driven grouse moors are a proven and significant contributor to this. We’ve tried negotiation, partnership and dialogue but the killing goes on. So let’s just end it and restore the ecology of this landscape.”
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