A Public Hanging in Dentdale

Dead moles displayed on barbed wire -Evidence of a job well done for the pest controller.
Dead moles displayed on barbed wire -Evidence of a job well done for the pest controller.

A rather macabre sight in the depths of Dentdale, mole catchers throughout the Dales traditionally display their success by stringing them up on a nearby fence for later inspection by the local landowner, and are then paid based on results1.

They’re widely recognised as pests: tunnelling through crops, their holes prone to injuring cattle, and the disturbed soil potentially contaminating silage with deadly Listeria that may be later communicated to livestock —still though, I can’t help but feel that it’s a rather backwards practice. Often the moles aren’t removed for ages and it’s not uncommon to smell them before you see them in the Summer months, their rotting corpses picked at by scavengers and reduced to slimy bone and gristle — Surely some traditions should just be laid to rest? And preferably not on barbed wire.

  1. Just to clear it up, the moles don’t die on the fence, but beforehand, usually in an underground kill-trap — the old method of Strychnine poisoning having been banned back in 2007.
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