United Utilities challenged on animal welfare

Campaigner Terry Pickford
Campaigner Terry Pickford

Animal welfare campaigners are set to challenge United Utilities at its AGM in Manchester on Friday over the use of snares.

Shareholder and local campaigner Terry Pickford this week called for the use of snares to trap animals on company land to be banned.

Meanwhile the water company has announced it will soon be launching a review of snaring for predator control on its leased land.

Terry, co-founder of North West Raptor Protection Group and a United Utilities shareholder, said : “As an organisation committed to protecting wildlife in the North West of England, we implore United Utilities to implement a ban on snares .... They have no place in modern day conservation.”

He claimed snares were causing considerable suffering to foxes, badgers, deer and pets.

United Utilities said: "We review the behaviour of our tenants and how they comply with the terms of our leases on a regular basis. We plan to review their use of snares in the near future to ensure they are acting in accordance with Defra’s Code of Practice."

The company’s estate contains areas in Bowland which are home to protected hen harriers and other raptors.

It added: “The control of predators on the moors is necessary to enable these protected species to breed successfully...Where some form of control is considered to be necessary then an assessment is made of the most appropriate method to use, with careful consideration given to the best forms of predator control to balance effectiveness and animal welfare.

"We liaise closely with our shooting tenants on their operations, and expect them all to act in accordance with the WCA 1981 and related legislation, including the 2012 Defra Code of Practice on the use of snares and the Fox Snaring and Lamping Codes of practice, as issued by the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust".