Animal charities welcome new government Bill that could finally ban fox hunting for sport
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20 YEARS after the introduction of Scotland’s fox hunting ban, animal charities are welcoming the introduction of new legislation that aims to truly ban hunting foxes for sport.
Introduced on February 24, The Hunting with Dogs (Scotland) Bill will replace the current act, which campaigners claim has allowed unnecessary fox hunts to continue.
While current laws already prohibit hunting wild animals with dogs, there are several loopholes have allowed hunting parties to continue operating in Scotland.
The new ban will replace the existing legislation and will make the law clearer to protect foxes, hares and other wild mammals from being chased and killed by packs of dogs for sport.
Environment Minister Màiri McAllan said: “I want to make clear that chasing and killing a mammal with a dog, for sport or otherwise, has no place in modern Scotland – indeed it has been illegal for twenty years. I am seeking to close loopholes which have allowed that already illegal activity to persist, and my aim is to do that in a way that ensures the greatest possible animal welfare while facilitating legitimate predator control."
“We consulted widely on our proposals and our public consultation received over 11,000 responses from a range of organisations and groups, as well as members of the public. We carefully considered the views of stakeholders and the public when developing the new legislation which I am confident is both progressive and balanced.”
The new Bill will still allow hunting dogs to be used to search for, stalk or flush a wild mammal, but only if the activity meets the requirements in the Bill.
These purposes include preventing serious damage to livestock, timber or crops and protecting human health by preventing the spread of disease.
Bob Elliot, Director of animal welfare charity OneKind said: “We are extremely glad to see this Bill, which is much needed and long overdue. We cannot quite believe that it has taken 20 years to have the prospect of a real fox hunting ban; we should have had one in 2002.
“A real ban on fox hunting is something that the Scottish people overwhelmingly support, and many are surprised that this cruel pastime has not yet been consigned to the history books.
“This new Bill will address the main deficiencies in the current fox hunting legislation, which is something OneKind has long been calling for. It will clarify the language and impose a limit of two dogs for any excepted activities, which should effectively end hunting with a pack of hounds. This is very welcome news indeed.”