Animal protection charity OneKind has today (Thursday 14th September) handed over a 11,000-strong petition and appeared before the Scottish Parliament’s Public Petitions Committee in a bid end the culls of mountain hares in Scotland.
The OneKind petition calls for protection of mountain hare on both animal welfare and conservation grounds. It recommends a three-year moratorium on all mountain hare killing, permitting culls and hunts only under licence, and ended all culling and hunting of mountain hares within Scotland’s National Parks using a Nature Conservation Order.
OneKind Director Harry Huyton, who gave evidence to the committee, said:
“The Scottish Government has a long-held and often repeated position of being against large-scale culls of mountain hares, and yet these culls continue. Not only does this result in the continued persecution and suffering of these beautiful animals, but it undermines the authority of the Scottish Government.
Our petition shows the overwhelming public support for protection of this iconic species. We now hope to see urgent action taken in time for the winter, which is peak culling season.”
Mountain hares are protected by a closed season that runs from March to August. Outside of this period, the animals can be shot freely for sport and are also killed as part of large-scale culls to manage land for red grouse shooting.
The Public Petitions Committee will now ask for stakeholders to submit their views on the petition.
Harry Huyton continued:
“We are very encouraged to see the Committee consider our petition seriously, and look forward to hearing the views of other stakeholders on this issue. We hope this process will take us one step closer to offering greater protection to Scotland’s mountain hares”
Notes to editor:
- OneKind is a Scottish animal protection charity working to end cruelty to Scotland’s animals.
- Read OneKind’s report Mountain hare persecution in Scotland here