This evening, in a landmark moment, the Scottish Government ended the ‘sport’ of fox hunting.

Under the Hunting with Dogs (Scotland) Bill, which Parliament just passed, there will now be a two-dog limit for flushing wild mammals to guns, effectively putting an end to fox hunting packs.

Scottish animal welfare charity OneKind has been campaigning for decades for a real foxhunting ban, as loopholes in the Protection of Wild Mammals (Scotland) Act 2002 allowed fox hunting to continue much as it did before the ban.

The Bill will also ban trail hunting, which has been used as a loophole to allow fox hunting to continue in England.

OneKind welcomes the new legislation.

OneKind Director, Bob Elliot said:

"This is a monumental day for Scotland. For twenty years the Scottish public have made it very clear that they want a real ban on the cruel ‘sport’ of foxhunting and now, after decades of tireless campaigning from ourselves and like-minded organisations and individuals, we finally have that ban.

"The chasing and killing of our beautiful foxes for ‘fun’ is unbelievably cruel and we are delighted that today the Scottish Government consigned this archaic ‘pastime’ to Scotland’s history books. Today we have a positive step towards wild animals finally obtaining the respect and basic protections that they deserve.

"A complete shift in mindset in how we view wild animals - as sentient individuals rather than ‘quarry’ - is desperately needed and today’s passing of the Bill shows we’re heading in the right direction."

Reflecting on the weaknesses of Scotland’s 2002 Act and the legislation in England, Bob commented:

"An exception in the 2002 Act allowed for an unlimited number of dogs to flush mammals to guns and was exploited by fox hunting packs, who continued to hunt foxes much as they did before the so-called ‘ban’. We are pleased that the Scottish Government has now closed this loophole and has also pre-emptively banned trail hunting, which we know has been used as a smokescreen for fox hunting in England."

A licensing scheme will be introduced, that will allow people to apply for a licence to use more than two dogs to flush wild animals in ‘exceptional circumstances’ where no other method would be effective: primarily for the purpose of preventing serious damage to ‘livestock’, woodland or crops; and environmental benefit. OneKind is not supportive of this scheme.

On the licensing scheme, Elliot said:

"We do not support the licensing scheme. There should not be any exceptions in the legislation to allow people to hunt a wild mammal using a dog.

"So long as it exists, at the very least, the licensing scheme should be based upon the 7 principles for ethical wildlife 'control'".

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Notes to Editor

  1. OneKind is a Scottish animal protection charity based in Edinburgh.
  2. OneKind has campaigned for stronger fox hunting legislation in Scotland for decades.
  3. You can read more about our recent work on securing an end to the ‘sport’ of foxhunting here.
  4. For further information please contact Eve Massie Bishop on 0131 285 9859 or [email protected]