AN amendment to the Animals and Wildlife (Scotland) Bill to protect mountain hares passed its third reading on Wednesday in the Scottish Parliament by 60 votes to 19 against. Therefore it will become law.

Green Member of the Scottish Parliament Alison Johnstone tabled the amendment giving legal protection to the mountain hare, ending recreational killing and mass culling of this iconic species. Scottish government figures show that an average 26,000 are killed every year on grouse shooting estates.

Mountain Hares have been in decline and only legal protection will prevent this.

Robbie Maryland, Director of League Against Cruel Sports (Scotland) says: “There is a circle of destruction surrounding grouse moors and this includes the mass killing of mountain hares.

“The intensive management of grouse moors, it would seem, stops at nothing to maintain the land for a single species no matter what impact that has on wider ecology. Mountain hares are one of the species eradicated on an industrial scale to ensure grouse numbers are kept unnaturally high for sport shooting.”

M Embling, Crook.