Vegetarians International Voice for Animals

Supermarket drops sale of hare meat after cruelty and population decline is highlighted

Release date: 
Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Campaigning animal group Viva! has congratulated supermarket chain Lidl for their ethical decision to end the sale of Hare meat in all of their British stores. Viva! provided the chain with information about cruelty and the decline of Hare populations all over Europe and in many other parts of the world. Since the 1960s, there has been a marked decline in Hares observed in a number of European countries. This has been blamed on intensification of agriculture, diseases (namely European Brown Hare Syndrome), hunting and climate change. Other countries that hunt Hare commercially, including Argentina, have also seen population collapses within the last decade. Viva! maintains that promoting hare meat will increase the pressure on already dwindling populations. Between 200,000 and 300,000 Hares are shot annually in the UK. This happens throughout the breeding season at least 37,000 orphaned leverets (young Hares) die of starvation. A century ago, there were four million of the animals; now there are about 750,000. The brown Hare remains the only game species without the basic legal protection provided by a close season. Hare shoots are notorious for their wounding rates. Up to 25 per cent of Hares may not be killed outright by shotguns on hare shoots, half of which may die of their wounds without being found. Viva! campaigns manager, Justin Kerswell, says: "We were shocked when we discovered that frozen Hare meat was being sold, so wrote to Lidl respectfully asking they remove it from stores immediately. We welcome their ethical decision to withdraw the product. We ask consumers everywhere not to buy Hare meat, and better still, go vegetarian.' ENDS For more information about this media release, contact press officer, Helen Rossiter or campaigns manager, Justin Kerswell, on 0117 944 1000 or email press@viva.org.uk