A FARMING enterprise has defended stringing dead moles on a farmgate, claiming it was a 'necessary part of farming'.

A spokesman for Heathwaite Farm, near Grizebeck, Kirkby-In-Furness, said 'moles digging could cause soil contamination of silage which could kill cattle.'

They said the moles, which were at the centre of a complaint made to South Lakeland District Council (SLDC), had been strung up by a mole catcher who had been hired.

A woman, from Haverthwaite, who did not wish to be named, said she was 'disgusted' to come across what she estimated to be more than 100 moles strung up on a farm gate.

She said: “I just find it really distressful and concerning why someone would do this - it’s 2020!

“Times have changed, it isn’t acceptable in this day and age to behave in that way.

“Imagine all the children with that image in their heads - it’ll traumatise them.”

The lady called for the removal of the moles and said: “They’ve started rotting and stinking and nothing is being done.”

She said she had reported the moles’ presence to South Lakeland District Council (SLDC).

A spokesman for Heathwaite farm said: “In farming you have to control them and we get a chap in to see to our moles and that what was what he did with them.”

He said moles’ digging could cause soil contamination of silage which could kill cattle.

“It’s something that all farms have to get done. A lot of them have to do them themselves. I thought the moles had been removed but we’ll see that they are,”he said.

Mike Sanderson, National Farmers’ Union (NFU) county advisor for Cumbria, said: “It’s a long-standing tradition. Mole catchers who are employed by landowners - as moles are vermin - used to do it and and have been doing it for years and years and years to show how many moles they have caught, effectively to show they have done their job.”

Mr Sanderson said mole-catchers were historically paid by acre or sometimes according to the number of moles caught.

“Obviously as time’s gone on it’s become less prevalent because people might not want to see that sort of thing at the roadside,” he said, adding the NFU did not have a specific position on moles being strung up.

It is understood SLDC is investigating the incident.

Moles are small mammals that are found all over the world. They are often thought of as garden pests, mainly because of their intricate tunnel systems. And though they spend most of the time underground, they are not blind.

Moles are small mammals adapted to a subterranean lifestyle (i.e., fossorial). They have cylindrical bodies, velvety fur, very small, inconspicuous ears and eyes, reduced hindlimbs, and short, powerful forelimbs with large paws adapted for digging.

Moles are found on every continent except Antarctica and South America. They live in grasslands, urban areas, gardens, grasslands, sand dunes, mixed woodland or any area that has soil where they can spend their time digging tunnels, and hunting for food.

Historically, a mole catcher would travel from farm to farm, and be paid in food and lodging as well as for the number of corpses he was able to produce.