A leading animal welfare charity is calling on fox hunts in Scotland to cancel their traditional Boxing Day meets in light of new restrictions for Covid-19. A number of hunts in England and Wales have already announced they won’t be meeting on what is viewed as the biggest day in the hunting calendar.

Robbie Marsland, Director of the League Against Cruel Sports, Scotland said: “This year’s Christmas celebrations are unlike anything we’ve ever experienced in our life times, with families up and down the country making sacrifices to stay safe as we battle with the global pandemic.

“Now more than ever before, the Boxing Day meet’s place in festive traditions is obsolete. The League is urging hunts to do the right thing and stay at home this year. Bringing crowds of people together to glorify the killing of foxes is crass and unnecessary in normal circumstances, but with the backdrop of Covid it is completely disrespectful to the thousands of people missing their loved ones over Christmas.”

The Scottish Government is due to bring forward a Bill next year to strengthen current legislation and really ban fox hunting in Scotland. The Protection of Wild Mammals (Scotland) Act 2002 has faced relentless criticism for a number of loopholes in the law which has made prosecution almost impossible, allowing hunts to continue hunting very much as they did before the law passed. The forthcoming Bill was dropped due to time constraints as a result of Covid but is expected after the election in May.

Robbie Marsland added: “There is huge public support for a proper ban on hunting as well as a strong political will to improve the law which currently legislates against fox hunting so we look forward to a clear commitment in manifestos from all parties supporting meaningful action to ban hunting properly.

“Given the circumstances, and the year we’ve had, it is ridiculous that we are even debating whether Boxing Day hunts should go ahead, Sadly this is just another example of the resolute determination hunters have to maintain their cruel and outdated sport and the sooner the law is strengthened, the better.”

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Notes to editor

 

  1. The League Against Cruel Sports is Britain's leading charity that works to stop animals being persecuted, abused and killed for sport. The League was instrumental in helping bring about the landmark Hunting Act. We carry out investigations to expose law-breaking and cruelty to animals and campaign for stronger animal protection laws and penalties. We work to change attitudes and behaviour through education and manage sanctuaries to protect wildlife. Find out more about our work at www.league.org.uk. Registered charity in England and Wales (no.1095234) and Scotland (no.SC045533).
  2. Media enquiries to Louise Robertson on 07930 539832 / [email protected]