Saboteurs Target Grouse moors

Hunt Saboteurs Association

HSA news release 13th August 2003

Saboteurs Target Grouse moors

August 12th is the first day of the grouse shooting season and groups of hunt saboteurs from across the country will be converging on the grouse moors of the North of England to prevent the killing of thousands of grouse in the name of ‘sport’.

The activists will be joining members of North West Hunt Saboteurs Association, whose spokesperson Paul Timpson explained ‘Based on recent years we know where the traditional shooting areas are, however, due to our success over the past years many shooters now stay away from the moors on the Twelfth itself.’

Hunt Saboteurs Association spokesperson Nathan Brown added: ‘The HSA has been sabotaging grouse shooting for 25 years. 40 years ago when the HSA started, it focussed on hunting with hounds. When hunting is banned in the next two years we will have more time to focus on the shooting of all gamebirds and the cruelty involved in their production.’

Upwards of 50 sabs enjoyed great success in stopping grouse being slaughtered over moors in the Sheffield area on Saturday 16th August. Despite the police scrambling a helicopter and mobile units in attempt to serve their masters, the sabs’ mere presence succeeded in stopping shooting for the day.

It would seem there were some ‘Karma Police’ in attendance at the same moor later in the month when it was reported “an estate manager died after being stung by wasps while he was out grouse shooting” Guy Canby, 54, the agent of the 2,000-acre Fitzwilliam Estate at Wentworth, South Yorkshire, died after being stung several times on the knee on the Strines Moor at Bradfield, near Sheffield. He is believed to have stood on a wasps’ nest and suffered an allergic reaction. His wife, Diana, was among the shooting party who took Mr Canby to a nearby pub, where two doctors who were drinking there tried to revive him with heart massage and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. He was taken to hospital but died on the way. How sad.

Notes for anyone interested:
Grouse shooting began on the 12th August and ends in December.
During the shooting season, around half a million grouse will be shot for fun. Many are not killed outright and will die a slow and painful death. Although the birds are not hand-reared, their numbers are kept artificially high by gamekeepers who ruthlessly exterminate possible predators – which means the death of any fox, stoat, weasel, hedgehog, cat, rat etc that happens to stray onto a grouse moor.
Investigations have blamed gamekeepers for the routine illegal destruction of eggs and poisoning of adult birds of prey on the grouse moors. Numerous other wildlife crimes have been attributed to gamekeepers such as destruction of badger setts and illegal snaring. (see Vermin Patrol at for more details). The ‘independent’ studies touted this and every year by the pro-shooting lobby (and repeated verbatim by the press) regularly turn out to be funded or ‘organised’ by such unbiased organisations as the Countryside Alliance, the Moorland Association and the British Association for Shooting and Conservation and involve the same ‘experts’ who can always be relied upon to justify shooting.

The most basic internet search reveals hundreds of reports from the UK media over the last decade, here are a tiny selection of headlines:

  • Six red kites are found poisoned
    The Telegraph April 2001
    The birds of prey were discovered over the past two weeks on estates in Perthshire, Stirlingshire and Invernesshire. The illegal poisoning had been confirmed as the cause of death in three cases and was suspected in two others…”these beautiful birds are being criminally destroyed by a few people in the so-called defence of shooting interests.”
  • Birds of prey face persecution
    BBC Online
    Wild birds of prey are being poisoned, shot and caught in traps across Britain.
  • Massive rise in illegal killings of birds of prey
    August 2000
    37 birds of prey had been confirmed poisoned by the beginning of August, including two golden eagles, 13 buzzards, 12 peregrine falcons and nine red kites. Suspected poisonings involving another three peregrine falcons are still under investigation..Conservationists…have accused gamekeepers…of carrying out a deliberate and illegal campaign of persecution.
  • Criminals target birds of prey
    The Guardian July 2003
    Birds of prey or owls were the target of more than half of the 591 crimes against wild birds reported across Britain last year, the RSPB revealed yesterday. Many were poisoned, shot or trapped…hotspots include Northumberland, North Yorkshire, West Yorkshire, South Wales and parts of Scotland.
  • Rare bird ‘closer to extinction’
    The burning of heather moorlands is threatening England’s hen harrier with extinction.
  • Two more red kites poisoned
    August 2002
    Two more red kites have been found poisoned in Yorkshire.

The Hunt Saboteurs Association is starting its 40th season of actively and directly saving animals’ lives this month.

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