Hares: Animal Welfare

(asked on 25th April 2024) - View Source

Question to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs:

To ask His Majesty's Government what plans they have for introducing legislation to introduce a closed season for hares in England, following the publication of DEFRA’s Action Plan for Animal Welfare in 2021; and what consultations they have had with stakeholders in that regard.

Answered by
Lord Benyon Portrait
Lord Benyon
This question was answered on 2nd May 2024

The Government has no current plans to legislate to introduce a close season for hares in England. The Action Plan for Animal Welfare in 2021 made a commitment to consider such legislation and it remains an option. An industry-led, non-statutory code of practice to protect hares in England is already in place which states that lethal control to prevent damage to crops should only be carried out in the winter months of January and February when vegetation is low and hares are easily visible. These months avoid the main breeding season and thereby reduce risks to dependent young.

The Government has had no formal consultations with stakeholders on this issue since the publication of the Action Plan for Animal Welfare but we have heard representations from interested parties, both in support of and opposed to a close season for hares.

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