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International Animal Rescue Saving animals from suffering around the world

IAR welcomes the end of Uist hedgehog cull

Scottish Natural Heritage calls off cull in favour of translocation.

Hedgehog (Photo: Uist Hedgehog Rescue)International Animal Rescue today welcomed the news that Scottish Natural Heritage has announced an end to the cull of hedgehogs on the islands of Uist. SNH’s Board has agreed to end the killing policy in favour of a translocation trial¹.

IAR, as a member of Uist Hedgehog Rescue², has opposed the killing of hedgehogs on the Uists since Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) announced its lethal policy in 2002. In order to save the lives of as many healthy wild animals as possible, UHR has rescued and relocated 756 hedgehogs from the Uists over the last four years.

The end of the cull follows last week’s announcement from the Scottish SPCA that it had changed its policy in support of UHR’s call for the killing to end. The policy change was attributed to new scientific research by Bristol University and ecologist Hugh Warwick which confirmed that the relocation of hedgehogs from the Uists to mainland Scotland is humane.

The Uist Wader Project (UWP), consisting of SNH, the Scottish Executive and RSPB Scotland, has been killing hedgehogs on the islands since 2003 in an attempt to improve the breeding success of ground-nesting birds. Translocation of hedgehogs was considered as an option by the UWP, but rejected due to concerns that translocated animals would starve. The Scottish SPCA has previously supported this position. UWP has killed 658 hedgehogs on the islands.

IAR CEO Alan Knight said: "We have always maintained that scientific research and practical experience support translocation as the humane and ethical solution to this problem."

UHR’s call for an end to the cull was supported by a number of high-profile people including Joanna Lumley, Brain May, Dame Jane Goodall, Virginia McKenna, Carla Lane and Jenny Seagrove.

Notes to Editors

1 The paper from SNH officers to SNH’s Board proposing an end to the hedgehog cull can be found at www.snh.org.uk.

2 UHR is a coalition of hedgehog experts, animal welfare and wildlife rescue organisations consisting of Advocates for Animals, the British Hedgehog Preservation Society, Hessilhead Wildlife Rescue Trust and International Animal Rescue. For more information see www.uhr.org.uk