Mountain hare amendment to Animals and Wildlife (Penalties, Protections and Powers) (Scotland) Bill passed

An amendment to the Animals and Wildlife (Penalties, Protections and Powers) (Scotland) Bill to protect mountain hares has been passed.

The amendment, tabled by Green MSP Alison Johnstone at Stage 3, was voted for today (Wednesday) in the Scottish Parliament gaining 60 votes for and 19 against.

Revive, the coalition for grouse moor reform, has supported the amendment which will offer protected status to mountain hares, ending recreational killing and mass culling of the iconic species. Scottish Government figures show that on average 26,000 are killed every year on grouse shooting estates, and last year their conservation status was downgraded to ‘unfavourable’ due to declining numbers.

Campaign Manager for Revive, Max Wiszniewski, said: “Iconic mountain hares are in decline and only legal protection will prevent their numbers falling. Today common sense has prevailed and the Scottish Parliament has voted overwhelming to pass this amendment.  

“There is a circle of destruction that surrounds grouse moors and this includes the mass killing of the iconic mountain hare. The intensive management of grouse moors in Scotland, it would seem, stops at nothing to maintain the land for a single species no matter what impact that has on wider ecology.

Robbie Marsland, Director of the League Against Cruel Sports,added: "This amendment offers legal protection to one of Scotland’s most iconic species and we’re obviously delighted the Scottish Parliament has voted in its favour. Mountain hares are subjected to the most appalling cruelty and are one of a number of species eradicated on an industrial scale to ensure grouse numbers are kept unnaturally high for sport shooting.

“Today’s outcome is a real victory for animal welfare and the League is grateful to Alison Johnstone for bringing this important issue back onto the political agenda.”

Recent polling commissioned by the League Against Cruel Sports Scotland and OneKind, both Revive partners, found that 83 percent of Scots believe that mountain hare culling should either be illegal or subjected to regulations. 

Ends

Notes to editors

Revive is a coalition of like-minded organisations working for grouse moor reform in Scotland. Coalition partners include Common Weal, OneKind, Friends of the Earth Scotland, League Against Cruel Sports and Raptor Persecution UK

Media enquiries to Louise Robertson on 07930 539832 / [email protected]