Charities release polling following revelations of the shocking extent of mountain hare slaughter in Scotland
New figures have revealed overwhelming public support for increased protection of Scotland’s iconic mountain hare. Polling commissioned by the League Against Cruel Sports and OneKind show that 83% of the Scottish public think hare culling should be regulated or made illegal.
In rural areas nine in ten people think that the current system for culling should be changed while only 5%, and 4% in urban areas, think culling should not be regulated by the Scottish Government.
These latest figures were released last night at a Parliamentary event hosted by Ruth Maguire MSP to inform parliamentarians about the extent of mountain hare persecution in Scotland.
Ruth Maguire MSP said:
“There has been real public concern about the large scale culling of mountain hares and folk will be rightly worried about the risk to the iconic species conservation status. The persecution of mountain hares on grouse moors is totally unacceptable and I am glad that the Scottish Government will be exploring all available options to prevent mass cullings.”
The scale of mountain hare slaughter was revealed just a few days ago when data released under freedom of information rules showed that up to 38,000 are being killed each year on sporting estates. The figures, produced by Scottish Natural Heritage for the Scottish Government last year but never published, suggest that large-scale slaughter has been routine in Scotland for many years.
Robbie Marsland, Director of the League Against Cruel Sports Scotland said:
“It comes as no surprise that the Scottish public is deeply concerned, and rightly so, about the lack of regulation for killing such an iconic species. The recent revelation that mountain hare killing amounts to tens of thousands each year illustrates the shocking extent of routine persecution in Scotland motivated by the need to maintain unnaturally high numbers of red grouse for sport shooting.
“This is not about conservation but simply part of the intensive land management that favours one species above all others in order to support commercial grouse shooting.”
It has also come to light under FoI that Scottish Natural Heritage advised the Scottish Government that it may have to report to the European Commission that the mountain hare population is in “unfavourable status”.
Harry Huyton, Director of OneKind added:
“For years the Scottish Government has called for voluntary restraint from shooting estates. We now categorically know that this approach has failed, and worryingly there is real concern that Scotland will be unable to demonstrate that it is meeting its duty under European law for this iconic species.
“I hope the Scottish Government will listen to the overwhelming public support for action and act now to protect mountain hares before the killing season starts once again.”
- Polling figures were taken from a survey commissioned by the League Against Cruel Sports and OneKind and designed and undertaken by Mark Diffley Consultancy and Research Ltd. Data was collected online, by invitation sent to a representative sample of the Scottish adult population, using the ScotPulse panel. A total of 1,038 responses were received. Fieldwork was conducted between 16 and 21 May 2018. Data is weighted to the gender and age profile of the Scottish population.