Leading animal protection charity OneKind has welcomed the Scottish Parliament’s decision to keep its mountain hare petition open while it awaits a response from the Scottish Government.
OneKind presented its 11,000-strong petition to the Scottish Parliament’s Public Petitions Committee in September in a bid to end the mass killing of mountain hares in Scotland. Today, the Committee announced it will seek the views of the Scottish Government on how best to proceed with the petition.
The Committee will ask the Scottish Government what opportunity there may be for members of the public to contribute to the development of Principles of Moorland Management guidance on sustainable hare management, and for more information on the scope of the independent group on grouse moor management in relation to the control of mountain hares.
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 ending all culling and hunting of mountain hares within Scotland’s National Parks.
OneKind Director Harry Huyton said:
“We’re encouraged by the serious treatment of this petition by the Scottish Parliament’s Public Petitions Committee and now await a response from the Scottish Government.
“The long-standing view of the Scottish Government is that it is against large-scale culls of mountain hares, yet we see time and time again that they continue to take place across Scotland. I hope the Scottish Government’s response supports action being taken to end the indiscriminate killing of this iconic species for good.”
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.
Harry Huyton continued:
“We’re now approaching the time of year when mountain hare culls reach their peak. I would encourage anyone out walking this winter in the Highlands or Borders to keep their eyes open and report any signs of mountain hare killing to OneKind, and indeed the Scottish Government, who have appealed for more evidence of culls taking place.”