Despite the launch of a new Code of Practice on the management and welfare of brown hares, Mike Weatherley, the Conservative Member of Parliament for Hove and Portslade, has backed calls for further protection for hares by having the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) address the issue.
The new Code of Practice, promoted by the British Association for Shooting & Conservation (BASC), outlines a number of management proposals. However, according to groups such as Blue Hare (www.bluehare.org.uk), part of the Conservatives Against Fox Hunting initiative, Blue Fox, the Code of Practice does not go far enough and allows the shooting of nursing and pregnant hares in February. Mike is a strong supporter of animal welfare and has consistently voted in favour of animal protection and supported a number of campaigns for better treatment of animals in the UK.
Commenting, Mike said: While a new Code of Practice has been drawn up, following discussions with some animal welfare groups who campaign for a close season for hares legislation, it appears that the voluntary code does not protect pregnant and nursing hares in February. This is why I hope that DEFRA will look into this matter. Animal welfare is an important issue for me and I am regularly contacted by constituents who are also concerned about the treatment of animals both in the UK and abroad.