This evening, in a monumental moment, the Scottish Government ended the ‘sport’ of foxhunting!

Fox hunt with dogs

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.

MSPs have voted to pass the Hunting with Dogs (Scotland) Bill, which will replace the Protection of Wild Mammals (Scotland) Act 2002, which had allowed fox hunting to continue much as it did before, due to loopholes in the legislation that were exploited by fox hunting packs; namely the exception to allow an unlimited number of dogs to ‘flush foxes to guns’.

"The chasing and killing of our beautiful foxes with packs of dogs 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 seen a positive step towards wild animals finally obtaining the respect and basic protections that they deserve." Bob Elliot, OneKind Director.

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

Unnecessary exemptions

While we welcome the strengthening of the legislation to put an end to the ‘sport’ of fox hunting, we are not supportive of the exceptions to the Bill, that will:

  • Allow the use of two dogs to flush wild mammals in certain circumstances, or use more than two dogs under licence in exceptional circumstances.
  • Allow the use of one dog underground, to try to flush foxes out.

We will write about these exceptions in more detail in a future blog.

However, it will never be legal to chase and kill a wild mammal using a dog.

Decades of campaigning for a real foxhunting ban

Rally against fox hunting - Edinburgh

Since the Bill was first announced early last year, we have been working hard to encourage the Scottish Government to introduce legislation which will truly ban foxhunting.

But we haven't just campaigned for a real foxhunting ban for the past year, we've been campaigning for decades for a real foxhunting ban and our supporters have been right beside us the whole way.

While there are aspects of the legislation that we do not support, and we had campaigned for a complete ban on using dogs to flush wild mammals, today's decision to put an end to the 'sport' of foxhunting is undoubtably a landmark moment.

From marches through central Edinburgh, to petitions, letter-writing actions, and educational outreach, our supporters have played an invaluable role in securing today’s ban.

For the foxes

We are delighted to be able to say that 24th January 2023 was the day that the ‘sport’ of fox hunting was finally consigned to Scotland’s history books.