Protect Threatened Hares in the UK

  • by: Judith B.
  • recipient: Department for Food, Agriculture and Rural Affairs, UK

Quiet, solitary animals, brown hares are a threatened species in the UK yet it is still legal to shoot them as game, for sport or as a perceived pest.

While rabbits, which live in large social groups, can multiply to the extent they become a genuine agricultural pest, hare populations are much more scattered, and in decline. The 1995 biodiversity action plan, aimed, and failed, to at least double their numbers by 2010.

However, it is perfectly legal for people to shoot hares or use certain traps, even during the breeding season, leaving the babies - leverets - to die of starvation.

Endangered animals need protection. They are not convenient targets for people who cannot find a clay pigeon club. Ask the UK government to introduce long-overdue legislation protecting hares.

We the undersigned ask that you update the legislation protecting brown hares, which dates from 1892. Hares are now a threatened species in the UK, with numbers in decline. The fact they have almost no protection, including no close season in England, doesn't help.

Britain needs to protect its threatened wildlife, not allow species to disappear. Furthermore, the lack of a close season has serious animal welfare implications as the killing of hares during the breeding season leaves the young to die slow deaths.

We ask that you introduce full legislation to protect hares, with a ban on shooting and snaring until their numbers at least recover to twice their current levels. We also ask that a permanent ban on killing any hare between the beginning of February and the end of September be introduced as a matter of urgency. Scotland has already done this. England and Wales need to follow suit.

Thank you for your attention.

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