Press release from OneKind (1st March 2021)
Protections for mountain hares have come into force from today, in what campaigners are calling National Mountain Hare Day.
The new regulations mean that it is illegal to intentionally kill, injure or take mountain hares without a licence. They were passed after pressure from Scottish Green MSP Alison Johnstone to accept the licensing as part of the new wildlife legislation.
[Photo by Steve Gardner]
Johnstone said: “Today is an important moment for all those who campaigned for years to end the indiscriminate mass slaughter of mountain hares on Scotland’s grouse moors. These new protections come as a direct result of my amendment to wildlife laws last year, which forced the Government to act after years of delay.
Overwhelming public support for action ensured that Parliament supported this change, and I would like to express my gratitude in particular to the tens of thousands of campaigners who backed my amendment and helped push it over the line.
Now that mountain hares are a protected species, the Scottish Government has a responsibility to protect them. We will be keeping a close eye on them and will challenge any move that suggests they are not fulfilling this duty.
Scotland is in a nature emergency, with one in nine species at threat. The progress we are seeing today is important but we need to do so much more. The Scottish Greens are committed to fighting for Scotland’s nature, ending the persecution of our wildlife and restoring Scotland’s unique and beautiful natural environment.”
Leading animal welfare charity, OneKind, has welcomed the introduction of legal protection.
Director Bob Elliot said: “We are delighted that the day has come when mountain hares have become a protected species and where the mass scale killings of this beautiful animal are put to an end.
We have campaigned for four years for an end to these culls and so today really does feel like a huge triumph. A triumph not just for ourselves, but also for our passionate supporters and all those who campaigned tirelessly for mountain hares.
There has been a great deal of support for making mountain hares a protected species and efforts from animal welfare organisations, such as OneKind, conservation organisations and passionate individuals made this happen.
In particular, Alison Johnstone MSP deserves special recognition for her commitment to her role as the Scottish Parliament’s hare champion.
We are very grateful that she lodged the amendment that is responsible for mountain hares’ new status as a protected species.”
6 thoughts on “National mountain hare day!”
Wonderful day.Huge thanks to everyone involved, not least RPUK for bringing this barbarity to our attention.
Sad photo of the dead ? hare . Yet again licenced killing is on the books together with all the voluntary codes . Gov rolls over but we don’t .
“Gov rolls over but we don’t .”
No, do not make that mistake.
Gov. most certainly did not roll over.
Clear aforethought and willing compliance with the wishes and demands of the wildlife killers the government chose not afford full protection to our mountain hares.
What does “without a licence” mean? It sounds like some kind of loophole-get-out?
Good, at least it is in writing; trouble is like the hunting act, it may be largely ignored and the old status quo will prevail. Unless the Scottish law get their act together.