Martin Whitfield MP has given his backing to calls for a crackdown on the cruel and illegal practice of hare coursing.

Hare coursing was banned in Scotland in 2002, yet there have been reports of an apparent upsurge in incidents across Scotland over the last few years, with several being reported in parts of East Lothian.

Charities such as One Kind and the League Against Cruel Sports are calling for reform in sentencing for hare coursing and other wildlife crimes to increase penalties for those found guilty of participating in bloodsports.

Martin Whitfield MP said:

“Hare coursing is illegal throughout the UK. However, despite being banned in Scotland in 2002, the cruel bloodsport continues in many rural areas, including here in East Lothian. It is not only cruel to the animals involved but also a nuisance for farmers and landowners.

“Because these crimes happen in rural and remote areas, it can be difficult to obtain witnesses and prove a crime has taken place. However, where prosecutions do occur I agree that there should be tougher sentences to deter others from participating in the future. That’s why I was pleased to back this new call to halt hare coursing.”