Tue 24 Jan, 2023

A new law tightening restrictions on blood sports in Scotland brings a full fox hunting ban a step closer, say the Scottish Greens.

Rural Affairs spokesperson Ariane Burgess said that the Hunting with Dogs Bill still retained a handful of potential “loopholes for the privileged few.”

But, despite it not going far enough, she also said that it still represented a major shift forward in protecting animal welfare.

Hailing the efforts of those campaigning for a real ban on fox hunting and other activities, she said their pressure continues to make a difference, and vowed to continue work on ending licensed hunts in particular.

Commenting after the debate, Burgess said:

“Hunting with dogs is a brutal and inhumane practice. It should have ended years ago. This Act may not go as far as we would have liked, but the changes represent a significant step forward in protecting animals from harm. 

“It is thanks in no small part to the efforts of all those who have campaigned with us that we have reached this stage.

“The Scottish Greens will do everything we can to build on this and to end all blood sports in Scotland. 

“In the debate I moved amendments to close the loopholes, which I fear will allow hunting with dogs to continue for the privileged few. 

“We will continue to push for reform and to ensure that the Scottish Government acts on any evidence that the licensing system is being used to facilitate abuses.

“We are determined to end licensed hunting with dogs as soon as practically possible – and to finally deliver the watertight ban on fox hunting that is so badly needed."

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Did you know that fox hunting still takes place in Scotland?

In 2002 the Scottish Parliament passed a law to ban traditional fox hunting and hare coursing. But there are loopholes in the law which enable fox hunting to continue, under the cover of legal activities.

And the wording of the current law is notoriously difficult to interpret, making it almost impossible to convict those suspected of wrongdoing.