Scottish gamekeepers desperate to keep slaughtering mountain hares on grouse moors

The Scottish Gamekeepers Association (SGA) has come out all guns blazing to try and prevent the Scottish Parliament from voting to protect the mountain hare in tomorrow’s debate on Stage 3 of the Animals and Wildlife Bill.

Scottish gamekeepers are terrified that they’ll no longer be able to enjoy what everyone else sees as a grotesque bloodbath.

SGA Chairman Alex Hogg has penned a typically deluded letter to MSPs in which he claims to be ‘a representative of the people of all of Scotland‘ (eh?) and how stopping the mass slaughter of mountain hares on grouse moors ‘will affect human beings’ lives’ (er…) and ‘worsen the conservation status of the mountain hare‘. Really?

Oh, and further justification for the slaughter is the protection of walkers, ramblers and mountain bikers from the perils of Lyme disease:

Of course, it’s not the first time the SGA has been accused of making ‘misleading’ and ‘greatly exaggerated’ claims’ about mountain hares (see here and here).

Meanwhile back on planet humanity, support is growing for MSP Alison Johnstone’s amendment to increase protection for the mountain hare that would effectively end the mass killing on grouse moors (see here and here).

The RSPB has published a good blog in support (here), as has animal welfare charity OneKind (here), and the signatures on the Scottish Green’s petition calling for support has now passed 12,000 in just a few days. If you’d like to sign it, please visit HERE.

Please keep writing to your MSPs – we know that mail bags have been inundated on this topic and it’ll be of great interest to see who votes in support of this amendment in tomorrow’s debate.


52 thoughts on “Scottish gamekeepers desperate to keep slaughtering mountain hares on grouse moors”

  1. Deluded or Hogwash barely covers the tripe that “Alex from Planet Slaughter ” writes. “The people of Scotland” dear dear one hopes the MSPs see through that one.

    1. When will this ludicracy and bloodthurts of men finally stop?? What kind of scum gets a kick out of killing harmless and defenceless animals?

  2. Pleased to say Christine Graham my local MSP will be voting for the amendment. Sadly Brian Whittle MSP one of my regional MSP is less willing to vote for this amendment – no prises for guessing which party he is a member of.

  3. I have written to all the relevant people several days ago but only received one typically Tory standard email from Brian Whittle’s office. I subsequently have had 2 further emails confessing to “a clerical error” in which I received someone else’s correspondence. The second email asked me to delete the said correspondence given it contravened Privacy law. Typical that I only get a proper personal email when they’ve “cocked up”!

  4. Are deer common on Grouse moors? If not then Lyme Disease is unlikely to be a problem, as the deer tick is the vector for Lyme. It is a tiny tick, the size of a grain of sand, not the walloping great sheep ticks which abound all over the country. Misinformation strikes again aimed at folk who don’t know the difference.

    1. As is often the case on this blog, comments are posted without proper moderation.

      The deer tick is not present in Europe…

      Anyone interested in this subject, take a look at the Lyme Disease Action website for some accurate information.

      1. Alauda,

        With reference to your comment, ‘As is often the case on this blog, comments are posted without proper moderation’….

        To be clear:

        Moderation on this blog is restricted to libellous and offensive commentary. It’s ridiculous to expect us to have the time and expertise to moderate every single comment and opinion for accuracy. As with all internet commentary/opinion, it’s down to the reader to judge the expertise of the commentator and thus the quality of content. If you disagree with a comment/opinion, you are entitled to challenge it.

      2. From your rather malicious reply can we assume you are not a fan of our native wild hare? A supporter of more mass killing..’just to save us all from lyme disease? A true guardian of our public health; thank you

      3. Common names! Names that are commonly used. If you want to be pedantic, stick with the Latin. Otherwise a tick that is found feeding on a deer is a deer tick.

    2. Deer are not vectors for Lyme’s Disease. Them most prolific vector for the bacteria that carry Lymes Disease is the humble wood mouse, individual mice have a very restricted territorial range, closely followed by the pheasant, whose range, and thus with a much larger potential to spread the disease, is much larger.
      Over recent years around 50 million of them are released, many of them now in glens adjacant to grouse moors, that are shot outwith the grouse season.
      The presence of these artificially introduced vectors must impact heavily on the spread of Lyme Disease to both grouse and humans.
      I would appear, that once again, the hunting lobby are central to the introduction of a problem and then blame other sources. They then support “solutions” by culling an iconic species like the mountain hare, and, in some instances, charge clients for shooting them.
      This is Machiavellian in nature as they pretend to be solving one issue when they are actually instrumental in creating it.

      1. Correct George M. Lymes Disease is much more prevalent in areas where predators are controlled and or missing. Years of research into Lymes Disease in Dutchess County NY has shown that the reservoir host is the white footed mouse. These mice can live happily with the ticks and tend to leave them be i.e. don’t clean them off. Similar with wood mice in the UK. This is the phase where the young ticks pick up the Lymes Disease. Take away the predators of the mice through human intervention and the mice numbers increase rapidly – as does the prevalence and transmission of Lymes Disease to humans. Sound familiar? No mice eating raptors, no mice eating mammals such as stoats – the number of mice go up, the number of ticks go up, as does the number with Lymes disease on board. Deer and or humans or other mammals such as the Mountain Hare are just the provider of food for the mature ticks i.e. blood and a breeding opportunity for the final phase of the tick’s life. They do not get Lymes Disease from humans or hares in this phase of their life cycle. Take away mice predator control and hey presto down goes the prevalence of Lymes Disease because the reservoir host numbers are reduced to a natural level. Even hedgehogs are at risk from game keepers.

        1. If you are writing about the infection that so changed my life, you might get the name right. It’s Lyme Disease, named for Old Lyme, Connecticut. Do that and some of us will take your contribution seriously.

          Sorry for the rant.

          1. Thanks for the correction. I also made the same error in a later post below – apology in advance.

  5. I have also only had one reply from the various emails I sent out – again, a non-committal one from Brian Whittle’s office.

  6. It’s interesting that SGA Chairman Alex Hogg has called the debate regarding Mountain Hare “contentious” since pretty much the only “contentious” thing about it is why this mass slaughter has been allowed to continue for so long and without proper scrutiny.

  7. Does the proposed legislation offer a licensing system for mountain hare control going forward?

    An absence of the ability to control local mountain hare populations could have a severe impact on commercial forestry and indeed rewilding interests. Of course I’m sure the number of licence applications relating to these activities will be conveniently overlooked in favour of focusing on those relating to grouse moor management…

    Without any proposed clear licensing system, I don’t expect this amendment to pass. The SNP wouldn’t want to upset the commercial forestry industry to that extent. The elephant in the room in any discussion on the negative impacts of grouse shooting will always be commercial forestry. They make the sporting estates look like angels in terms of negative wildlife impact and landscape level environmental damage, but as it’s essentially the only real industry Scotland has at present, the SNP know when to tow the line.

    1. As we understand it, the amendment does not call for a ‘ban’ on killing mountain hares – its is simply a modest change to increase the protection of mountain hares in law, thus licensed control would still be permitted (e.g. for forestry) if supported by a suitable licence application.

    2. Here’s an even bigger Elephant, Mammoth if you will. Mountain Hare numbers would be regulated, free of charge, by healthy populations of their naturally occuring predators, but…

    3. You compare a professionally staffed industry like forestry which is regulated by the Commission with the squalor of grouse moors managed by criminal goons and regulated by no-one but the police. Whatever the acknowledged potential threats from commercial forestry it is an industry which operates to enforceable standards at every level internally and externally and it has a far higher professional understanding of both habitat and species management than the grouse industry. Forestry is likely to operate any licensing system far more reliably.
      Whatever its other faults may be I also doubt whether forestry has the kind of colonial attitudes apparent in your last sentence which are pretty characteristic of the grouse lot.

  8. Now Alex quotes

    When hares are not managed on these upland moors, numbers build for a period then the hares die off.

    now i’m no ecologist, nor a guardian of the countryside, just a mere physics graduate (although that should hold me in high regard to comment on these matter by some people). But if a wild population is left alone where are the natural predators that can keep this population in check and ensure that it remains healthy. Where are the foxes the eagles, the buzzards etc.

    Can Alex explain why the eagles, buzzards etc will not naturally control this predicted population explosion?

  9. If the philanthropic Alex Hogg is so concerned over walkers etc., coming into contact with Lyme’s disease then he should suggest to the members of SGA that they remove their ‘tick mops’!

  10. A picture of a collection of “look what we have done” grinning like idiots standing aloft the bloodied remains of beautiful creatures laid out as grotesque trophies.

    To indulge in such a massacre is reprehensible, but to then pose for such a picture is revolting.

  11. I think I might have an answer for you Mike, I should think Alex Hogg is a bit busy right now to answer your concerns why eagles, buzzards etc., will not naturally control the mountain hare population – [Ed: rest of this comment deleted as libellous]

  12. Please Mr Carbo, can we have a Mountain Hare about to be shot being told its for his own good? He will be much the better for it! Thanks.

  13. Not sure how the Lyme Disease discussion started. This is a bacterial disease transmitted by ticks, and as far as I am aware is not linked to grouse, but to deer. It is Louping Ill virus that the ticks are meant to carry and transmit to grouse. There’s a massive amount of misinformation out there and nothing has been proved. The mountain hare is almost certainly innocent. However, what is not in doubt is that the higher the density of RED GROUSE the more likely they are to pick up any infection that’s going around, and grit trays full of grouse droppings is the perfect site for disease transmission. The solution is to have fewer red grouse. Leave the hares and raptors in peace to permit a balanced moorland ecosystem.
    Maybe the best solution should be that gamekeepers insist that grouse wear suitable PPE and get them to observe social distancing – then all would be well within their world……

  14. let’s face it -they just like to kill and kill and kill as many animals as they can-why is the government still supporting them?

  15. You can see the scaremongering about Lymes disease on those misinforming propaganda boards on the moors. Seemingly gamekeepers are immune from it but woe betide you ramblers, walkers and mountain bikers…
    Seriously, how stupid do they think we are? We know it’s just a ruse to keep us on the tracks and off the moor away from the previous grouse they want to kill later in the season.
    So pleased this amendment has gathered the momentum it has. Particular after the Werritty report let us all down.

    1. Paul, you’ll find warnings about Lyme Disease in other places too. People need to be reminded of the risk, and to check themselves and any children for ticks on their return home. I hope the warning also tells of the proper way to remove ticks, and those old, but still offered, methods to avoid.

  16. I’m no expert, but I do have an interest, to the extent that my Lyme-damaged brain allows. I feel that US experience may not be totally relevant. Two strains or varieties of the B burgdorphii infection are/were referred to as -sl and -si, distinguishing US and UK LD. The infection may take a different form, it was initially referred to in the USA as ‘arthritis’, for that was how it manifested in the children of Old Lyme.

    The ticks are a different species in the UK, the hosts are different also. New research is finding more species of Borrelia in ticks, and other potential infections. I suggest a start point for current information relevant to the UK would be lyme disease action (

  17. Please don’t kill these rabbits they defenseless against guns they’re supposed to be there they’re lovely shame on anyone who wants to kill them barbaric just like fox hunting

  18. I have contacted my MSP Oliver Mindel and he has categorically told me that he will NOT BE SUPPORTING the amendment.
    I am exceedingly angry and disappointed.

  19. You want to kill some of the last animals left on our planet to save humans from getting sick 🤷🏻‍♀️ Are you crazy? Of course you are.

  20. This is so cruel. Do you not think they have a right to live like you? You cruel, worthless arseholes

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