Tue 10 Sep, 2019

Scottish Green MSP Alison Johnstone has asked for clarification from the Scottish Government after it emerged that Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing supports current loopholes in fox hunting laws and wants to continue to allow the use of dogs when hunting and killing foxes.

In a letter to a fox hunting sympathiser revealed in an FOI request, Ewing says he “supported the exemptions in the Watson bill which enabled pest control to be carried out using dogs”, and that there was “no intention to ban that activity”.

In another letter to Environment secretary Roseanna Cunningham, he also claims fox hunting helps with conservation of other species and requests a meeting with her for a “political discussion” on the issue.

The letters were written around the time environment minister Mairi Gougeon announced her intention to tighten the laws.

Alison Johnstone is consulting on a bill which would close the loopholes that allow foxhunting to continue.

She said: “These comments from Fergus Ewing are extremely unhelpful, and undermine the promises made by his minister Marie Gougeon. It is clear he supports foxhunting.

“Given there was no mention of foxhunting in the programme for government, ministers should now clarify whether the Scottish Government support fox hunting or not.

“It is now clear that my fox and hare bill is the Scottish Parliament’s best chance to close the loopholes and provide a real ban on this barbaric activity.”

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