Animal lovers are accusing Aberdeenshire Council of inhumane treatment following their announcement to poison rabbits in Bass Cemetery.
Following complaints from families with relatives buried there, action is to be taken to deal with the problem at the Inverurie cemetery.
Significant numbers of rabbits have moved in, burrowing through the graveyard, undermining headstones and eating flowers and plants left by mourners.
Now Aberdeenshire Council is bringing in a contractor to exterminate them as humanely as possible using a fast-acting poisonous gas.
But there has been widespread outrage with hundreds taking to social media to express their horror at the plan.
Landscape Services Principal Officer, Shirley Bruce, said: “This is a last resort but the problem is out of control. It is very upsetting for the recently bereaved to visit soon after leaving flowers at a grave to see them destroyed.
“Whilst this action won’t be popular with everyone, it’s vital that we do it for safety reasons - some of the headstones could become unstable and could cause significant injury or worse should they fall.
“We’ve chosen to take this humane approach because it is known to be highly effective and we want to have a significant impact on the rabbit population.”
The cemetery gates will be locked for 48 hours from Tuesday, November 27, reopening on Thursday, November 29 as a safety precaution.