Scottish Labour calls for immediate end to mountain hare ‘slaughter’

Colin Smyth MSP has tabled a motion in the Scottish parliament to end the cull, after Investigative reporting by the Ferret revealed that upwards of 38,000 mountain hares were killed in a single season, putting the species on the road to “unfavourable status.”

Estate managers have defended their actions as part the necessary population management, and attacked animal right advocates as armchair advocates. But insiders at Scottish Natural Heritage are advising the Scottish Government that the European Commission may have to downgrade the species’ conservation status - a sad predicament for an animal synonymous with the Scottish Highlands.

Robbie Marsland, director of the League Against Cruel Sports told the Ferret that:

“[the public will be] shocked to know the true extent of mountain hare killing”.

“We believe that this is not about conservation – killing over 1.3 million mountain hares in the last 50 years does not conserve them, quite the opposite.”

Speaking about his motion to end the cull, Colin Smyth said:

“There can be no justification for the mass slaughter of nearly 40,000 of these iconic Scottish animals in less than one year.

“The public will be shocked to know the sheer scale of death on Scotland’s grouse moors. Large scale culls are now becoming routine and the so-called ‘voluntary solutions’ are clearly not working, particularly in light of evidence that populations in some parts of Scotland are in decline.

“I have raised a motion in parliament and am calling for a member’s debate on the issue to explore the possibility of an end to mountain hare culls in Scotland.

“I have tabled a motion in parliament and will be calling for a member’s debate on the issue to explore the possibility of an end to mountain hare culls in Scotland.”

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