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Dead Rabbits and moles

From Liz M

Monday, 21 November 2011

I was walking from Widdop then down to Blake Dean and back across some footpaths to Widdop - about a 7 mile circuit. There were a lot of dead rabbits about, strewn across the footpaths. I also so a couple of live ones which were obviously not very well. There eyes were bulging and they did not move if approached.

If there is pest control going on, can the carcasses be cleared up away from tourist footpaths?

Also, above Widdop there are a lot of dead moles hanging from barbed wire fences, right near foot path intersections. Again, if this is pest control, it is not very good for the tourist industry and farmers should be more sympathetic to members of the public who might not like walking past dead animals.

See photos here

From Jenny B

Monday, 21 November 2011

Liz are you serious or is this a wind up?

Mole catchers have strung their moles up in this way for centuries, it is so the landowner knows they have done the job they are paid for, and how much to pay him. Rabbit control may also be going on at this time of year to reduce the spread of diseases especially mixamotosis (sic).

I really dont think you can be honestly suggesting that this is offensive to tourists who happen to be using a footpath across private land. If you are, I despair.

From Liz W

Monday, 21 November 2011

I also despair at the lack of general understanding of life in the countryside.

The introduction of mixamatosis remains a horrific & deeply regretable method of attempting to contol the rabbit population. But it was done in another age over which we now have little control.

Had we then but known, a far better solution would be, as Hugh 'Astonishingly-Well-Furnished' advocates, is to encourage folk to eat 'em! 'Bunny Burgers' surely tick most of the HB angst boxes (excepting the veggies, but hey don't get me on those) Free-range/organic/totally locally/happy life etc.

However tragically 'mixie' has re-emerged in our area as sadly it does periodically. Frankly the kindest action, if you discover a poor creature suffering this affliction, is to dispatch it quickly with a sharp blow to the back of the neck. If you really do not understand why these things happen in the countryside, then I suggest that you might feel less upset and more comfortable planning your walks around the Trafford centre

From Claire M

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Jenny, have the mole catchers no better way of letting the land owner know how many moles they have caught, like a flipping photo message or are such methods of sharing info just signs of evil modernity?

From Lesley Jones

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Thanks Jenny and Liz

You beat me to it.

I agree - but I would add the fact that I was intrigued by the use of Liz's term "tourist footpath". I didn't know that footpaths were developed round Widdop hundreds of years ago for the benefit of the tourist today. Or perhaps Liz credits our ancestors with better crystal gazing powers than some of HB's newer residents might possess. I am afraid however it is just another indication that confirms that the town and its surroundings are seen as a theme park for some visitors, who seem to want to close their eyes to the fact that people have lived and worked here for centuries and are still going quietly about their business, unseen and unheard for the most part by those same visitors.

And I'm sorry Claire M - your post popped in as I was penning this reply. Perhaps he could have taken a photo but I would guess that the mole catcher in question prefers to work in the traditional manner in which he has probably worked all his life. Is that so wrong?

Before you all start shouting at me, I have nothing against tourists at all and fully appreciate the benefits they bring to our area. But I do get upset when we are criticised because our local reality does not fit in with whatever picture visitors may have had in their minds before they came.

From Stan M

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Nature has a way of dealing with this it is called carion. One beast's demise is another beast's fortune. Learn about nature and the countryside.

From Sarah C

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

I understand the tradition involved but the pictures of those poor moles upset me deeply.

From B Hans

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Where do you think the famous Hebden moleskin trousers come from? I reckon it's those guys from Spencers Trousers wot dunnit ;-)

From Ian M

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Well said Lesley. I couldn't agree more! It won't be long before we are hearing complaints about tractors on the roads or church bells waking people who need their sleep before they head off in the morning for Leeds or Manchester. A simple clue is to look around you! Trees, fields and animals - you're in the countryside

From Lizzie D

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Lesley, I totally agree with your sentiments and would like to add mine.
Particularly in farming, the ways of managing land and stock can seem old fashioned and possibly barbaric to the unitiated. The issue that Liz raised was that it was offensive for tourists to see the 'muckier side' of the countryside.

Hebden Bridge is not as Lesley says; a theme park environment for people simply to come and see the countryside. We all live and work here too and can't simply clear the paths of any wildlife or signs of other land management to suit tourists.

For Sarah to be upset at the images of those 'poor moles' is a bit like a veggie looking in a butchers cold store - don't look then!!

From Sutti H

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

I've been reading the posts with a smile on my face. What does this post say to me? Well just what I've said all along. The same thing I've been shouted down for, just trying to explain how the locals feel. No matter how long we try and explain the new people in Hebden Bridge will never understand.

Would you like the footpaths tarmacing Liz, maybe a cafe or a Macdonalds for the kids so they will venture into our countryside.

I agree the tourists need to come to Hebden, we need them because that's what our town is based on. We also need tidy fields, free of dead machines, metal sheds etc. We need to educate the next generation, burgers don't come from Tesco's. There is a real occupation going on, it's called farming and we need it, warts n all.

From Patsy F

Thursday, 24 November 2011

I'd like to add a humane suggestion. If anyone finds a rabbit with Myxomatosis, the kindest thing is to kill it. If a rabbit is easy to catch, then it definitely has Myxomatosis - and there is no cure for the poor animal.

So please find a stone or a hefty piece of wood and hit the rabbit extremely hard at the back of the head so that you kill with one blow. A horrible thing to do, but very, very kind. You'll feel sick at heart, but you'll have saved a creature from a horrible, lingering death.

From Albert the Moleman

Thursday, 24 November 2011

These photos on the wire is, as someone said, an old method of letting the Farmer see how many Moles you had caught. The Moleman was, and still is in some areas, paid per mole. However, in over forty years of Mole and Pest Control work I must say that this is a rare sight.

Usually, you build up trust between your client and yourself, ie. if you tell them you have caught ten, or how ever many Moles, they take your word for it. If however they wish to see the Moles, the nomal practice is to leave them for the Farmer to see. He usually throws them in the Muck Heap, the Woms can then get their own back! The Moles rot down and go back on the land with the Muck Spreader.

If people aren't bothered about seeing the Moles, the common practice is to bury them in the field or in the case of gardens, remove the Moles and dispose of them elsewear.

In this wonderful world when you are in the business of "killing animals" you have to be very descrete, and work on a "need to know" basis, you and your client, and when you are using Firearms, the Police.

Within the Pest Control industry there are strict guidelines of what you can do and how you do it. There is also the ethical stance that wether it be a Rat in a trap or a Bullock in a Slaughterhouse, if you have to despatch that animal, you owe it to that animal to be as humane and quick as possible.

Back to the Moles; being discrete, if you hang a string of Moles on a wire fence you are advertising to the world and his dog that you are Moleing in that area and as sure as eggs are eggs someone will find your traps, and will either steal them or vandalise them. At £6 a time it's no joke.

From Sarah Crowley

Friday, 25 November 2011

In reply to the comment that I shouldn't have looked at the moles . . . I didn't have much choice! As I previously stated I can understand why it needs to be done but continue to find the images upsetting... an opinion I won't change.

From Emma S

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Why exactly are moles killed? I don't think that has ever been adequately explained to me. Yes, molehills are unsightly, but what is the problem in terms of farming?

From Anne H

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Emma, I think around here one of the major problems is the reduction in grazing area. If 10-20% of a field is covered with molehills, then that's a 10-20% reduction in the food your animals have access to. The extensive tunnels also cause a lot of structural damage to the soil. Makes it difficult to till the earth or drive machinery onto the field as the ground is collapsing underneath.

Gardeners will get rid of moles because they cause uneven lawns with unsightly mounds on top, but I can't see a farmer paying a mole catcher because they are unsightly. It would have to save money in the long run.

Strange that this topic should come up now because I was just thinking that you don't often see dead moles strung up on fences near farms anymore - we used to see it a lot on the hills above Todmorden but that's probably 40 years ago. It's possible that one reason for making them so visible was to show neighbouring farms that you are doing something about it?

From Maureen Brian

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Why are moles killed?

Because too heavy an infestation of moles and their holes can reduce the productivity of both pasture and arable land, damage farm machinery, destroy field drainage systems (which we usually never notice) and face owners of valuable stock with the choice of having to destroy prized horses with broken legs, with great commercial value, or destroy moles which have no value at all, nor any investment in their breeding and training.

And I'm not even a farmer: I looked it up on the internet.

From Jenny B

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

. . . and damage crops, spread disease (listeria to sheep) . . . make ruddy big holes for 'floral welly wearing tourists' to fall i to.

There used to be a molers' guild in Hebden. Not sure if still in existence but maybe they could highlight that mole killing is not a sport.

From Hannah H

Monday, 5 December 2011

As has been mentioned above there are many problems with mole infestations in farm land, but to add to these perhaps the most important and dangerous effect the have is contamination of silage.

When grass is cut and harvested it is left to ferment for a number of months before it is fed to livestock. However soil contains listeria bacteria, and during this fermentation process, contaminants such as soil can cause what is termed 'secondary fermentation'. This can result in the animal contracting Listeriosis which can cause abortion and death of the animal. Therefore mole control is vital and has been a much needed professional service for farmers for hundreds of years, it is much more economic to kill moles rather than lose stock.

Hope this explains further.