What Is The Current Legislation On Fox Hunting In Scotland?
The Scottish ban, called the Protection Of Wild Mammals Act actually came first (2002) – but is weaker and even more unenforceable than the 2004 Hunting Ban that is in place in England and Wales. A person guilty of an offence under the Protection Of Wild Mammals Act is liable on summary conviction to imprisonment for up to 6 months or a fine of up to level 5 on the standard scale or both.
Despite the weaker legislation, it was the SNP that were the party that held back a free vote being held on repealing or relaxing the current English and Welsh hunting laws in 2015 by David Cameron, they did this by confirming that the party would vote AGAINST the move, as opposed to abstaining as they had initially suggested.
How Do Scottish Laws On Hunting Differ?
Under the Protection Of wild Mammals Act, whilst the traditional hunting of foxes on horseback is banned, the hunt can exploit an exemption known as ‘flushing to guns’. This exemption allows the use of dogs to flush foxes from cover such as woods out into the open, to be shot by a trained marksman when it is safe to do so.
The difference here between the Scottish and English law is that Scottish hunts can use an unlimited number of hound to do so, as opposed to 2 hounds permitted under the 2004 Hunting Act.
Over the last few years, video surveillance taken by the League Against Cruel Sports over the last three years leads them to believe that the Scottish hunts regularly flush to guns with no guns. In his review of the legislation Lord Bonomy stated there was evidence that “that the flushing from cover for pest control exception is a decoy for the continuation of some traditional hunting practices”.
The Scottish population are strongly against fox hunting, with 84% of people believing that fox hunting should not be made legal again – this gives great hope for a future strengthening of the ban.
What Can I Do To Prevent Illegal Fox Hunting?
The Scottish public does not want to see a return to fox hunting, and many are in favour of a strengthening of the Scottish laws to see restrictions equal or better yet surpass those currently in England and Wales. To prevent illegal fox hunting in your area: