OneKind has called on VisitScotland, the public body responsible for promoting tourism in Scotland, to stop promoting business and organisations that support recreational mountain hare killing.
Each year, tens of thousands of mountain hares are killed across Scotland. While some are killed as part of culls on shooting estates, around 40% are killed for sport  with people travelling from around the world to kill our native animals.
On 1st August 2017, OneKind released a report, Mountain hare persecution in Scotland, which exposed the full extent of mountain hare killing for recreational purposes in Scotland. It identifies 25 companies advertising such services online, including on the VisitScotland and the Scottish Country Sports Tourism Group (SCSTG) websites. The SCSTG promotes country sports in Scotland and was set up by country sports organisations in partnership with VisitScotland and Scottish Natural Heritage. In recent years it has benefited from two grants from VisitScotland worth a total of £36,675.
The charity is now urging members of the public to sign its petition calling on VisitScotland to stop promoting recreational mountain hare killing.
OneKind Director Harry Huyton said:
“We believe that recreational hare killing, particularly as part of driven hunts, which involve killing hundreds of hares at a time, is in direct conflict with the Scottish Government’s commitments to the conservation and welfare of mountain hares. This is not the kind of tourism we should be encouraging, let alone using public resources and funds to promote it”
We are calling on VisitScotland and the Scottish Government to terminate their endorsement of groups and organisations that provide this activity. Our message is simple: Visit Scotland, but don’t kill our hares.”
In a letter to OneKind in August 2017, VisitScotland confirmed that “as a public body we have to remain impartial and we cannot discriminate against one sector of the tourism industry”. However, following the publication of the report, VisitScotland swiftly removed adverts for Mirani Hunting from its site. Mirani hunting were singled out in the OneKind report as a provider of large-scale recreational mountain hare killing that were being promoted on VisitScotland’s website.
Harry Huyton continued:
“VisitScotland may have a duty to be impartial in who it promotes, but that doesn’t mean they should support an activity that so clearly undermines our reputation as an animal-loving country that celebrates its natural heritage. I hope that this petition will send a clear signal that the public want to see VisitScotland and the Scottish Government work together to put an end to the use of public resources to promote this outdated pastime.”
Robbie Marsland, Director of the League Against Cruel Sports Scotland said: “Killing hares for the fun of it? Reprehensible and repugnant, is what the League Scotland thinks about it”.
Jane Russ, Chairman of the Hare Preservation Trust said: “The Hare Preservation Trust is pleased to support OneKind in its campaign to stop recreational hare hunting. The killing of any animal for sport should not be permitted in the 21st. century and the mountain hare in particular has a great need for protection. We are right behind this initiative.”
Notes to editor:
- Figures from a 2008 report commissioned by Scottish Natural Heritage
- OneKind is Scotland’s animal campaigns charity.
- Read OneKind’s report Mountain hare persecution in Scotland here.
- The image attached shows a screengrab of the Mirani Hunting Page taken in July 2017. The image was removed following the publication of OneKind’s report.