Snares and hunting at Holyrood
First Minister’s Questions is the highlight of the week at Holyrood – an opportunity for backbench MSPs to raise issues with the First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon.
League Scotland have been campaigning for the last few years to have the Scottish Government tighten laws on hunting in Scotland. We were absolutely delighted when the leader of the Scottish Greens and candidate in the Westminster elections, Patrick Harvie, asked the First Minister about her position on .
We’re very pleased that all the e-mails our supporters have been sending their candidates and MSPs have been having an impact, as both Patrick Harvie and Nicola Sturgeon mention.
The League are also very pleased that Nicola Sturgeon reiterated her own personal opposition to foxhunting and that her Government is opposed to hunting.
However, we would very much like to see the Scottish Government consultation include a full explorations of the options we have to really ban hunting, and fully agree with the sentiments of Patrick Harvie’s supplementary question.
This debate came about through Colin Smyth MSP, who is a member of the League Against Cruel Sports, and a South of Scotland List MSP. Colin lodged a motion on the unsatisfactory review of which the Scottish Government commissioned, and which did not even consider a ban. The motion also highlighted the work done by the League and Onekind, including a joint report we recently produced on snares.
The majority of MSPs who spoke were in favour of a ban – Colin Smyth led the debate very eloquently. James Kelly from Labour and Alison Johnstone from the Greens also spoke in favour of a ban, as did SNP MSPs Ruth Maguire and Christine Grahame. Andy Wightman tried to intervene twice but was refused.
The speakers against snares made points that were familiar but remain true – snares are cruel, they are indiscriminate and they are unnecessary.
Two Conservative MSPs, Finlay Carson and Jamie Green spoke in favour of the use of snares.
Roseanna Cunningham, Cabinet Secretary for the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, summed up, reiterating the Government’s position supporting the continuing use of snares. This was disappointing, and presumably uncomfortable for the SNP to be aligned with the Conservatives, although she promised that issues around using snares to capture hares and the use of stink pits would be considered by the Government’s technical advisory group.
Thanks so much to all the MSPs who attended the debate and spoke in favour of banning snares.
We will continue to keep up the pressure on the Scottish Government to ban snares.
Christine Grahame has already lodged a motion registering her opposition to stink pits, which are absolutely vile - piles of dead animals, including foxes, game birds, salmon and whatever other corpses are available. Shooting estate set snares around stink pits.
Christine’s motion has already gained cross party support and will lead to another debate in Holyrood soon.
Thank you to everyone who has contacted their MSPs on foxhunting and/or snares. The support we’re able to mobilise is making a real difference in that it helps get animal welfare issues debated in the Scottish Parliament. Well done everyone, and keep up the hard work.