Alison Johnstone MSP has today (1 Mar) repeated her call for an end the indiscriminate slaughter of mountain hares in Scotland. Today marks the first day of the closed season, which runs until the end of July, during which hares can only be killed under licence.
Evidence suggests that hare numbers have fallen dramatically in parts of the Highlands, and the Green MSP, who is the species champion for the mountain hare, is calling for an end to the mass killing of the iconic creatures on grouse moors.
Alison Johnstone MSP said:
"Large-scale killing of mountain hares is routine on many sporting estates, for so-called sport and in the belief that it protects grouse against a virus spread by ticks, but there is no scientific evidence to support this. We need to end the killing of this iconic native species.
"The voluntary restraint urged by the government's nature agency has proved inadequate. I have previously suggested ministers use their powers to introduce a nature conservation order to prohibit culls. Scotland is a nation of animal lovers and the public will be outraged that the government continues to drag its feet on ending animal cruelty.
“Today marks the beginning of a period during which hares are afforded some protection to allow them to breed in peace. Ministers have the power to extend this period year round, and I would once again urge them to do so. I am committed to exploring all options to end this barbaric practice, and I have raised this matter once more with the Scottish Government this week.”