Loopholes in fox hunting laws to be closed

Animal welfare campaigners are welcoming new legislation coming into force in Scotland to protect foxes from hunters.

It is in a bid to close 'loopholes' in the law that allow hunters to use more than two dogs to find a fox and hunt them for pest control purposes.

The bill is the result of a consultation that involved 19,000 responses.

Minister for Rural Affairs Mairi Gougeon said:

“The welfare of animals in Scotland, whether domestic, farmed, or wild, is one of this government’s highest priorities and so, when it became apparent that legislation introduced in 2002 to protect foxes from unnecessary hunting wasn’t having the desired effect, we wanted to take firm action.

“We asked Lord Bonomy to undertake a review into how we can provide a sufficient level of protection for foxes and other wild mammals, whilst allowing for the effective and humane control of them when absolutely necessary, and published a consultation which attracted nearly 19,000 responses.  

“After careful consideration of those responses, I’m pleased to say that we will be taking forward many of the recommendations in Lord Bonomy’s report to clarify and strengthen the Protection of Wild Mammals Act.

“However, not only do we hope to implement the vast majority of those recommendations, we will be going further.

"We’re going to strengthen our current legislation and plan to introduce measures that go beyond the rest of the UK in terms of protecting the welfare of our wild mammals.”

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