ANIMAL welfare charity OneKind has handed an 11,000 name petition to Holyrood’s Public Petitions Committee calling for an end to mountain hare culling.
They claim they should be protected on conservation and animal welfare grounds.
It suggests an end to all culling of mountain hares in Scotland’s National Parks introducing a Nature Conservation Order.
The charity is also urging a three year moratorium on all mountain hare killing while insisting on licences for culls and hunts become mandatory.
OneKind Director Harry Huyton, who gave evidence to the committee, said: “The Scottish Government has a long-held and often repeated position of being against large-scale culls of mountain hares, and yet these culls continue.
“Not only does this result in the continued persecution and suffering of these beautiful animals, but it undermines the authority of the Scottish Government.”
He claims the charity’s petition shows an “overwhelming” public support for the protection of the species, but says time is running out to act.
He added: “We now hope to see urgent action taken in time for the winter, which is peak culling season.”
“We are very encouraged to see the Committee consider our petition seriously, and look forward to hearing the views of other stakeholders on this issue.
“We hope this process will take us one step closer to offering greater protection to Scotland’s mountain hares”
The Public Petitions Committee will now ask for stakeholders to submit their views on the petition.