Search Results for: alison johnstone

Alison Johnstone MSP | Protect Scotland’s mountain hares

“In June your support helped get my amendment passed in the Scottish Parliament to make mountain hares a protected species and to bring about an end to their mass slaughter on Scotland’s grouse moors. It was an important victory in its own right and also because it’s the first time that decisive action has been taken against wildlife persecution on Scotland’s grouse moors. Sadly, however, the Scottish Government has yet to deliver this protection. The open season is due to start again and killing mountain hares without licence can commence once more from today. We must not let this happen. You’ve already helped so much, but we need to make another push.” Alison Johnstone MSP, 01 Aug 2020

Continue reading

Alison Johnstone MSP | “Fury of the hunting lobby has been astonishing”

On June 17th we noted that, “Some remarkably good news. The Scottish parliament has just voted to protect Mountain Hares”. So what’s the response of the shooting industry to NOT being able to kill Hares? The gamekeepers have risibly suggested the vote was ‘undemocratic’ and think that setting up their own political party would be a good idea! It sounds excellent to us: there’s nothing like losing multiple deposits to help you understand just how unpopular you are. The so-called Countryside Alliance have threatened to go after Alison herself: baseless ad hominem attacks on ‘animal rights extremists’ are the norm for hunting lobbyists so that hardly comes as a surprise.

Continue reading

Petition | Protect Mountain Hares under the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981

On March 1st this year Scotland’s Mountain Hares received protection (on paper anyway). Thanks to the efforts of Green MSP Alison Johnstone, new regulations mean that it is ‘illegal to intentionally kill, injure or take Mountain Hares without a licence’ (as we pointed out in Scotland | Mountain Hares are now a protected species the ‘without a licence‘ clause is of course extremely important here. How easy it will be to get a licence and, crucially, how strictly Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH, the licence-issuers) will ensure that licence criteria are adhered to will be a vital measure of how seriously this legislation is taken). The actions in Scotland now leave the isolated populations of Mountain Hares in England and Wales unprotected. Especially unprotected on grouse moors in the Peak District where the hares there survive under the same gamekeeping regime as their Scottish counterparts. Mountain Hares could easily be given adequate protection by an amendment to the Wildlife & Countryside Act, the primary legislation which protects animals, plants and habitats in the UK. Which is exactly what the Hare Preservation Trust is asking for in a new petition launched yesterday.

Continue reading

Scotland | Mountain Hares are now a protected species

Today is being hailed as #MountainHareDay, the day that legislation comes into force which should be a huge step forward in the protection of Mountain Hares – native wild animals, let’s not forget, that only needed protection because gamekeepers on Scotland’s grouse moors were shooting so many of them (why? for the reasons they usually eradicate wildlife from the grouse moor farms of the uplands – to protect shooting profits). As of today new regulations mean that it is illegal to intentionally kill, injure or take Mountain Hares without a licence. The ‘without a licence’ clause is of course extremely important here. How easy it will be to get a licence and, crucially, how strictly Scottish Natural Heritage (the licence-issuers) will ensure that licence criteria are adhered to will be a vital measure of how seriously this legislation is taken. However, cynicism aside, this is a fantastic achievement by a large number of people, but Scottish Green MSP Alison Johnstone, in particular, has been key to protecting this iconic animal. Our thanks and congratulations go to her…

Continue reading

Vote to end Mountain Hare slaughter

The driven grouse industry really dislike Mountain Hares. Not because they eat grouse chicks. Not because they are all bouncy and quite cute and distract shooters. Not because guests to very expensive shooting estates are kept awake at night by their chattering. Not even because they leave little piles of droppings that guests don’t want to dip their expensively clad shooting boots in…Nope, it’s because hares might carry ticks that can carry a virus that can infect grouse. Come rain or shine, increase or decline, public disgust or – no, just public disgust – gamekeepers on upland shooting estates shoot thousands of hares every year to protect their employer’s profits. Green MSP Alison Johnstone wants this disgraceful slaughter of native species stopped. And we can help her…but we need to be quick!

Continue reading

Scotland | Date set for ban on unlicensed mountain hare culls

So yet again it turns out that the one thing that really annoys gamekeepers is when a country, its public, its conservationists, and its politicians tell them to stop killing something. It almost doesn’t matter what: Hen Harriers, Golden Eagles – or Mountain Hares. Inevitably they will whine that – oh, you can make the rest up yourselves, but basically it will include ‘economy’. ‘the rural community’, ‘townies don’t understand’ and something nonsensical about Curlews. Which is the gist of what the loudmouthed lobby group that represents a tiny workforce paid to klll wildlife so that wealthy shooters can fly or drive up to Scotland to kill other wildlife is – inevitably – saying now that they can’t just go out and massacre Mountain Hares on a whim. Here at The War on Wildlife Project our hearts bleed for them.

Continue reading

Mountain Hares (partially) protected

The Scottish Government have finally confirmed they will implement a Scottish Greens amendment to protect Mountain Hares under the proposed Animals and Wildlife (Penalties, Protections and Powers) (Scotland) Act. The amendment came on the back of a 2019 report by the Joint Nature Conservation Committee to the EU which revealed that Scotland’s Mountain Hare populations have experienced a major decline [BTO Breeding Bird Survey mammal data concluded that there had been notable decreases in mountain hare populations in 108 of the 316 10km squares for which the species was assessed in Scotland between 1995/99 and 2011/15 time periods].The report led to the conservation status of the Mountain Hare being downgraded to unfavourable, which meant that special conservation action needed to be undertaken to halt further declines and aid their recovery. The amendment means that Mountain Hares will only be permitted to be killed under licence (for example to ‘protect’ forestry operations), and will effectively end the mass-scale killing on grouse moors.

Continue reading

Language Matters | Cull – its just killing

We recently launched a campaign looking at how our use of language fails our wildlife. When did we start to agree that foxes were ‘vermin’ or that Wood Pigeons were ‘pests’, for example? What on earth has chasing a small animal with a pack of hounds got anything to do with modern understandings of ‘sport’? There are numerous terms and phrases that belittles or demonises wildlife, and in this post we will be looking at a word that does exactly that but which like ‘conservation’, ‘control’, and ‘manage’ seems to be on a form of ‘mission creep’: cull. ‘Cull’ has been fully embraced by a range of industries to suggest that whatever mass killing takes place, it’s being done with reluctance, for us, to help us, and it has (honestly, guv) absolutely nothing to do with protecting the [insert as appropriate] industry that is doing the killing or for which the killing is being done. And because of our selfless care and consideration isn’t it fair that we [insert as appropriate] should be compensated? By the taxpayer of course…

Continue reading