Leading Scottish animal welfare charity, OneKind, has today renewed its calls for urgent action from the Scottish Government to prevent the mass killing of Scotland’s mountain hares.
The open season on mountain hares begins today (1st August) and runs until 28 February, during which tens of thousands of mountain hares will be killed by gamekeepers to manage their land for red grouse shooting, while the rest are shot freely for ‘sport’. Freedom of information request figures released last year revealed that an average of 26,000 mountain hare are killed a year in Scotland, with numbers reaching an all-time high in 2014 when 37,681 were killed.
Bob Elliot, Director of OneKind said:
“The First Minister has been clear that the culling of mountain hares is not acceptable, yet once again the killing season has begun. It’s time to say enough is enough to the routine shooting of hares by gamekeepers managing their land for red grouse shooting and by hunting parties for the thrill. We need to ensure this year’s open season on mountain hares is the last and call on the Scottish Government to put an end to the large-scale culling of this beautiful animal.”
OneKind has long campaigned for an end to large-scale culling of mountain hares in Scotland, and so far over 19,000 people have signed an open letter from OneKind to the Scottish Government to put an end to this brutal slaughter. Last month, OneKind also welcomed a proposal by Alison Johnstone MSP for a Protection and Conservation of Wild Mammals (Scotland) Bill that would give full protection to wild hares by licensing all control.
Notes to editor:
1. Footage of large-scale mountain hare culls in Scotland released in March 2018 can be viewed here.
2. MSP Alison Johnstone’s consultation can be found here and the accompanying consultation document can be found here.
3. OneKind’s petition to end the mountain hare killing can be found here.