BASC challenges Alison Johnstone MSP mountain hare amendment

A late attempt to ban the management of mountain hares in Scotland by the Green party MSP, Alison Johnstone, is based on emotive politicisation not the science says BASC.

The eleventh hour amendment to the Animals and Wildlife (Penalties, Protections and Powers) (Scotland) Bill, due to be heard on 17 June, has brought about wide condemnation across rural organisations.

BASC Scotland director, Dr Colin Shedden, said: “While Alison Johnstone is keen to make the most of emotive terms like “mass killings”, the truth as described in the independent Grouse Moor Management Review (known as the Werritty Report) is far more nuanced. The review makes clear the important relationship between mountain hares and areas managed for driven grouse shooting. Indeed the highest density of mountain hares ever recorded in Europe was on a Scottish grouse moor.

“There is ongoing research to accurately assess numbers of mountain hares on both grouse moors and other moorland areas. If Alison Johnstone was really focused on conserving the mountain hare she would be far better served focusing on the science and supporting the Werritty Review’s recommendations, then rallying behind emotive politicisation of grouse moor management.”

BASC Scotland gave evidence to the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee on this Bill last December and will brief all MSPs on the relevant issues before the Stage 3 debate on 17 June.

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