Conservatives Against Fox Hunting campaign to keep the Hunting Act 2004 in place which also protects hares from hunting with dogs and hare coursing. However hare populations are very low and are also subjected to sport shooting which harms their vulnerable low population status even further. We are featured on the Associate Parliamentary Group For Animal Welfare (APGAW) website on http://www.apgaw.org/ and on the latest news section for the proposal for a closed season for hares which we introduced to the Chairman of APGAW in May 2011. Neil Parish MP, the Chairman of APGAW has fully supported our initative to protect the declining populations of hares which have been reduced by 80% in the last century. Hares are the only game species in England which do not have the protection of a closed season, which operates in Scotland and throughout much of Europe. Northern Ireland has had the legislation in place since 1928
The killing of large numbers of pregnant and nursing hares and the starvation to death of thousands of their young left to die without parents decimates the hare populations further.
Conservatives Against Fox Hunting prepared a Parliamentary question with APGAW which the Chairman, Neil Parish MP asked the Minister Richard Benyon in May 2011 about the results of the Species Action Plan created for the brown hare in 1995 whose target was to double the numbers in Britain by 2010. The Minister confirmed in June 2011 that the target had not been achieved.CAFH had a further meeting in November 2011 with the Chairman of APGAW to again discuss raising the need for a closed season for hares amongst MPs in Westminster.
We are delighted that fellow APGAW members Humane Society International ( HSI )became involved with us on this issue for further hare protection in late 2011. We work closely on the hare protection issue with the UK Director of HSI Mark Jones BVSc MSc MRCVS , Humane Society International/UK. Mark is a veterinarian, a Member of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons whose career thus far has spanned work in private practice, the aquaculture and fisheries industry. We also liase with a member of the HSI campaign team. Together we hope to raise the profile of a much needed closed season for hares. Since May 2011, the press officer of the Hare Preservation Trust has kindly answered CAFH’s many questions and responded to our continuing approaches for expertise on hare populations which we presented personally in meetings with the Chairman of APGAW.http://www.hare-preservation-trust.co.uk/ The Hare Preservation Trust have also written to Ministers for the need of a closed season for hares. An EDM for a closed season was launched in December 2011.http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2010-12/2531
Since December 2011 we have further worked with APGAW on another Parliamentary question on a closed season for hares to the Minister Jim Paice,a copy of the letter sent by Neil Parish MP, Chairman of APGAW in January 2012 can be seen here:http://www.apgaw.org/images/stories/HareLetter_Jan2012.pdf
The Associate Parliamentary Group for Animal Welfare (APGAW) is an all-party group made up of MPs, Peers and associate animal welfare organisations or groups with a specific interest in this area. The aim of the Group is to promote and further the case of animal welfare by all means available to the Parliaments at Westminster and in Europe.
Protection for Hares During Breeding Season
APGAW Members Conservatives Against Foxhunting and Humane Society International recently brought the problem of the lack of protection for pregnant and nursing hares and their dependent young to the attention of APGAW’s chairman, Neil Parish.
There has been a serious decline in the number of hares in the UK, with surveys showing that the brown hare has declined by more than 80 percent during the past 100 years and in some parts of Britain, such as the south-west, it may even be locally extinct.
Other game species are provided with close seasons during the sensitive breeding period but, as this protection is not afforded to hares, many thousands of leverets can be abandoned and left to die each year.
APGAW feels that the protection afforded to hares is woefully inadequate and needs to be increased and wrote the following letter to the Minister;
(http://www.mammal.org.uk/index.php?page=shop.product_details&flypage=flypage_new.tpl&product_id=50&category_id=19&option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=219), the book ‘Mammals of the British Isles Handbook; 4th edition’ published by the Mammal Society in 2008, estimates that 390,000 brown hares are shot each year in Great Britain.
This information was provided by a member of DEFRA