Trophy photos of long lines of dead animals that have been shot for fun are a tradition in the world of country sports. To some, they are clearly a source of gratification and pride.

To many of us, though, they are the opposite: cruel, barbaric and sickening. What does it say about a society if it regards the killing of large numbers of sentient creatures as fun, as sport?

It’s not surprising, then, that VisitScotland removed a photo from its website of shooters displaying mountain hares they had shot for fun in this country. What’s harder to understand is why the tourist agency sees fit to keep backing blood sports.

Of course the shooting industry brings in a lot of valuable income to rural areas, and is worth maybe £115 million a year. But at what cost to Scotland’s international image as a civilised and caring nation?

Wouldn’t it be better to encourage visitors to pay to watch and wonder at wild animals, rather than to blow them to bits? How can respect and care for our natural environment sit comfortably with killing other living things for fun?

Shooters argue that mountain hare populations are healthy on sporting estates. But conservation groups say their status is uncertain, and are demanding a halt to mass culls.

Even if mountain hares are surviving, is it acceptable or humane in the 21st century to market their mass shooting as a hobby? Is this the kind of role that a modern, civilised Scotland really wants to have in the world? We doubt it.