Today, Green MSP Alison Johnstone lodged an amendment to the Animals and Wildlife Bill at Stage 3
requesting that mountain hares be given full legal protection.
The amendment, and others, will be
debated at Holyrood next Wednesday (June 17th). The SGA will provide briefings for politicians ahead of
Commenting on the proposals today,
Scottish Gamekeepers Association Chairman Alex Hogg said: “The Werritty review of grouse moor
management looked at the issue of mountain hares in depth and Scottish Government is due to respond to
that report in due course.
“That is where this issue should be looked at, not thrown late into a Bill as a piece of political
“Since seasons were brought in for mountain hares, all licences granted for culling have been given
out by SNH to protect young trees. As the Green party demands more tree planting to counter climate
change, it will be interesting to see how Alison Johnstone intends to protect saplings from mountain
hares. She has certainly made a very forceful and compelling case for fenced forestry schemes running
across upland Scotland.
“Mountain hares are controlled, in season, to protect trees and fragile habitats, to prevent disease
and to manage tick populations which also have implications for human health.
“A great deal has been done by gamekeepers and estates to put into place new scientifically tested
counting methodologies so that control measures are proportionate. That is the way forward and very few,
if any, conservation bodies have followed suit which is perhaps telling. Complete protection will not
address the key issue facing the species in Scotland today: their spiralling decline away from grouse
moors which have maintained their habitats for centuries while still managing population levels.”
*Members who feel strongly on this issue should also contact their MSPs. Your practical experience of
wildlife management should be heard on these and other issues and we encourage you to communicate that
practical knowledge to those who will participate in the debate. By entering your postcode into the
'Find MSPs' box in this link, you can find out how to contact your local MSP. https://www.parliament.scot/msps.aspx