A Scottish Government announcement on the future of fox hunting in Scotland is expected in the New Year. As hunts embark on their Boxing Day activity which is traditionally the biggest day in the hunting calendar, a leading animal welfare charity is calling for common sense to prevail to really ban hunting in Scotland.

Four years ago a review of the operations of the Protection of Wild Mammals (Scotland) Act was commissioned leading to a raft of recommendations by Lord Bonomy which were subsequently consulted on at the end of 2017. The Scottish Government is expected to announce what changes it intends to make to the law shortly.

Robbie Marsland, Director of the League Against Cruel Sports, Scotland said:

“The law which supposedly bans fox hunting in Scotland has been under intense scrutiny for the last four years and we are now nearing the conclusion of this process. During these four years we have seen numerous examples of how weak and ineffective the law is, most recently when charges for illegal hunting were withdrawn after the sheriff concluded it was impossible to convict due to well documented difficulties with the legislation.

“In our view the Scottish Government has no option but to let common sense prevail and make significant changes to the law to make it fit for purpose and really ban fox hunting in Scotland. Under the current law, hunts are continuing to go out two or three times a week over the hunting season and continuing with the charade of the traditional Boxing Day meet. During this time they are hunting in a way which is almost identical to pre-ban hunting making the law a complete waste of time.”

Should the Scottish Government not go far enough with its expected proposal, Green MSP Alison Johnstone has pledged to bring forward a Members Bill early next year to introduce better protections for Scotland’s wildlife, including a complete ban on hunting with dogs.

Robbie Marsland added:

“It is clear there is a strong political will to improve the law which currently legislates against fox hunting. The law was intended to end the horrific practice of using hounds to chase, terrorise and kill wild mammals for sport yet largely, our evidence shows this is still happening week in, week out over the hunting season in Scotland.

“The League will continue to campaign for a law which does what was originally intended and really ban hunting.”

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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]