Tue 25 Oct, 2022

Fox hunting and other forms of hunting with dogs are brutal and outdated practices. It is time to close the loopholes and end them for good, according to the Scottish Greens.

The comments from the Scottish Greens rural affairs spokesperson, Ariane Burgess MSP, come ahead of the Stage 1 debate of the new Hunting with Dogs Bill.

Ariane intends to significantly strengthen the Bill through a series of amendments she will introduce as it makes its way through the Scottish Parliament. 

This will include removing loopholes to the ban, like the Scottish Government’s proposed licensing of hunting with packs of dogs in some circumstances, as well as removing the exception for terrier work. This is the cruel practice of sending dogs underground to flush out foxes, and can lead to orphan cubs being killed by dogs underground. 

Hunting with Dogs is the first bill in the excluded area of the Bute House Agreement between the Scottish Greens and the Scottish Government.

Ariane Burgess MSP said: 

“Hunting with packs of dogs is cruel, outdated and totally unnecessary. It should have ended years ago. 

“A lot of people think fox-hunting is already banned in Scotland, but the reality is that there are far too many loopholes in the existing law. This has allowed fox-hunting to continue throughout the last 20 years. It’s also allowed the continuation of underground fighting between terrier dogs and foxes.

“The new Bill is supposed to resolve these ambiguities and make it easier to prosecute illegal activity, but the licensing scheme would risk closing some loopholes while creating new ones.

“There is no excuse for these brutal and inhumane practices to continue, and the polls have repeatedly shown that the public back an outright ban.

“Our Parliament has the chance to act. The amendments I will move will strengthen the bill and close the loopholes, ending fox hunting for good.

“I urge colleagues to reflect on whether we are legislating for a Scotland of the past or the Scotland of the future. Hunting wildlife with packs of dogs should have no place in modern Scotland.” 

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