MWT's Response to the proposed Animal Welfare Bill 2021

(c) Shely Bryan

The Isle of Man Government have proposed a 2021 Animal Welfare Bill that aims to protect animals such as cats, dogs and horses from harm and mistreatment. MWT think this is great, however, the proposed bill contains a change in legislation for the Mountain hare (Lepus timidus) that MWT would like to comment upon.

Manx Wildlife Trust (MWT) are pleased to see the Government consultation on animal welfare which is designed to bring protections for pets and companion animals in line with the UK. However, we think the proposal for mountain hares, Lepus timidus, to be reclassified from ‘vermin’ to ‘game’ does not go far enough. We believe mountain hares would have been native to the Isle of Man in the post-glacial period and, following their re-introduction in the 1950’s, the Island now supports a small but potentially vital population. Numbers of mountain hares are in decline in the British Isles due to loss of habitat and climate change. We therefore recommend mountain hares be classified as ‘protected’ rather than ‘game’. Any potential damage that mountain hares may cause to trees could be mitigated with the use of tree protectors rather than requiring management through hunting.

The Isle of Man Government has asked for public views regarding this proposed Animal Welfare Bill 2021, so if you wish to make a comment all the information can be found here - https://consult.gov.im/environment-food-and-agriculture/animal-welfare-… the deadline for comments is April 5th 2021.