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Geese shooting protest arranged in Rodley after bird deaths cause public distress

Canada geese – the bird which is being targeted in the shoots. Copyright Rodley, Horsforth and Calverley Wildlife and Conservation Group

By Molly Paul

A protest is being staged this Sunday (December 15) after the shooting of Canada geese near a Leeds nature reserve caused public distress last weekend.

Meeting near the Tiny Tea Rooms, Rodley at 1pm, members of the Rodley, Horsforth and Calverley Wildlife and Conservation group are protesting to protect the geese that were shot on land in the Calverley area.

Dr Leigh Jones, a member of the protesting group said: “We are arranging the protest because, as locals, we strongly object to the shooting.

“We are doing it also as a means of encouraging the North farm to stop the shooting taking place on their fields.

“The shooter in question hides by Rodley Nature Reserve and shoots Canada geese as they fly over its boundary with the neighbouring fields.”

Recent shootings have been done in front of families with a dying bird falling onto a local pitch while a football match was on.

Dr Jones said: “As locals, we feel the situation is becoming increasingly dangerous as the shooter becomes increasingly angry and frustrated.”

The number of geese shooting in the area has dropped recently due to the ongoing protests by the group.

On one shoot, 17 geese were hit while only three have been shot since, including a tame goose that was loved by locals, called Gary.

An anonymous member of the group recovered the goose’s body.

They said: “This is a sporting shoot, but under the guise of a numbers cull – we have offered to help [the farmer, Peter] North with the geese as there are other humane methods.

“I am hoping that we will achieve a protection order on the area where the shooting occurs, adjacent to a nature reserve and canal towpath.”

Open season is until January 31 and legal as long as the hunter has a gun licence and the landowner has given permission.

Farmer David North said that the farm allowed the shooting after numbers of geese return to the land each winter which causes a nuisance.

He said: “We aren’t bloodthirsty people; we just want to get rid of the geese as we have had this problem for years – they are ruining our land and are becoming a health hazard.

“I think it’s been blown out of proportion. If you get rid of the geese, it would be ok.”

The Police and local council were contacted for a comment but no response had been received at time of publication.

What do you think?