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OneKind calls for urgent action as new evidence emerges of mass culling of of mountain hares

Released to press on 01 March 2017

OneKind, Scotland’s leading animal campaigns charity, is calling on the Scottish Government to act swiftly as a truck full of dead mountain hares was spotted in the Scottish Highlands yesterday.

Hare cull

The image was taken by wildlife photographer Pete Walkden at 3:59pm on 28 February, the last day of the open season, on the road between Findhorn Valley and Farr, close to the Cairngorms National Park.

Harry Huyton, Director of OneKind, said:

“Last November, Roseanna Cunningham MSP, the Cabinet Secretary for Environment, made it clear that large-scale culls of mountain hare have no place in Scotland. She also called for more evidence, and this photograph is yet more proof that large-scale culling is still taking place across the country. We now want to see a strong response from the Scottish Government to protect this iconic species before the open season restarts in August.”

“This cull was legal, but the fact that it took place in the dying hours of the shooting season only illustrates the determination and cynicism of those who are determined to kill mountain hares.”

Mountain hares are protected for less than half the year in Scotland – the closed season, during which they can only be killed under licence. Outside of this period, they can be shot freely for sport and are also killed as part of large-scale culls. Culling takes place throughout the country to protect grouse moor and forestry interests.  The only official estimate found that 24,529 mountain hareswere killed in one year back in 2006/7, ten times more than the number of badgers killed in England’s badger culls in 2015.

Today, OneKind is also launching its latest mountain hare campaign, focusing on the Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA).  The charity wants the Authority to end culls in the park, and at the very least to introduce transparency measures so that the extent and location of culls is made public.

In a letter to OneKind in January 2017, the CNPA confirmed that it is “aware that hare culls take place annually across many estates in the National Park”. OneKind is asking the public, especially those who live in and visit the Park, to sign a giant postcard in support of the campaign that will be delivered to the Park before the killing season opens again in August. 

Harry Huyton continued:

“The Cairngorms National Park is at the heart of the mountain hare’s range. We urge everyone who values Scotland’s natural heritage to support our campaign by signing the postcard at We need to demonstrate that the public expects our National Parks to lead the way when it comes to protecting wildlife.”

Notes to editor:

  1. OneKind is a UK-wide animal protection charity based in Scotland working to end animal suffering through campaigns, research and education.
  2. The Cabinet Secretary for the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, Roseanna Cunningham MSP addressed the OneKind mountain hare rally outside the Scottish Parliament on Thursday 17 November 2016. A video of the event be can be found here.
  3. More information on OneKind campaign ‘Protect Mountain Hares in Cairngorms National Park’ can be found here.

For further information or photographs please contact Sarah Moyes on 0131 661

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