I have previously suggested ministers use their powers to introduce a nature conservation order to prohibit culls.Alison Johnstone MSP
Scottish Green MSPs are renewing their calls for a ban on the killing of mountain hares after new footage showed mass culls of the creatures on grouse moors.
Mountain hare shooting is an activity offered by Scottish game estates, and it is estimated that 25,000 were killed in one year, up to 14 per cent of the population.
The latest footage was filmed in the Cairngorms.
Alison Johnstone MSP, deputy convener of Holyrood's cross-party group on Animal Welfare, and Species Champion for the Mountain Hare and Brown Hare, said:
"Large-scale culling of mountain hares is routine on many sporting estates in the belief that it protects grouse against viruses spread by ticks but there is no scientific evidence to back that up. We need to ban these culls.
"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 national of animal lovers and the public will be outraged that the government continues to drag its feet on ending animal cruelty.
"It was good to hear the First Minister say that the Government will explore all options to prevent mass culling."