Scotland passes bill banning fox hunting with packs of hounds

A new law to prevent trail hunting with packs of dogs has been passed by Scottish Parliament in a n historic step animal welfare advocates are calling a “huge win for wildlife.”

Scotland’s Hunting with Dogs Bill is aimed at stopping illegal hunts of animals such as rabbits and foxes by closing a loophole in the 20-year-old Protection of Wild Mammals Act.

Animal welfare group Protect the Wild said the legislation will effectively end “hunting with hounds as we know it.”

“This is a huge win for wildlife!” the group added after the bill passed in a vote of 90-30 after a seven-hour debate Tuesday night.

We are delighted that the Scottish Government has now consigned this archaic ‘pastime’ to Scotland’s history books,” Bob Elliot, CEO of Scottish animal rights charity OneKind, told Protect the Wild. “This Bill will also pre-emptively ban trail hunting in Scotland. Trail hunting continues to be used as a smokescreen that allows fox hunting to continue in England.”

The Scottish SPCA applauded the move.

“One of the issues with the Protection of Wild Mammals Act was that it did not limit how large a pack could be, meaning dozens of dogs could be used in a hunt,” the group said. “We know this has led to out-of-control groups of dogs on hunts, where wild mammals have been mauled to death as it is impossible to shoot one when it is caught by a large pack.”

Still, animal welfare groups said the bill creates a new loophole by way of licensing hunters.

“A proposed licensing scheme that would allow more than the two-dog limit to be used in certain circumstances is being opposed – there should be no exceptions which could allow the previous status quo,” Animal Defenders International pointed out.

Still, Scotland’s Environment Minister Màiri McAllan said this law has “struck the right balance” to allow farmers and land managers access to “appropriate and humane control measures,” where necessary.

“This Bill represents a significant step forward in protecting Scotland’s wildlife from the cruel and senseless practice of illegal hunting,” McAllan said.

“I am pleased that the Parliament has agreed on a new law which will close the door on the illegal chasing and killing of mammals once and for all.”

The SPCA said it will be closely following the development of the licensing plan to ensure to doesn’t create further loopholes.

“For now, we are delighted to celebrate a big win for animal welfare in Scotland,” it added.

And now, animal rights advocates are setting their sights on England and Wales to do the same.

Main photo: Protect The Wild

About the author

Recovering newspaper reporter.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.