A leading animal welfare charity has welcomed a commitment from the First Minister confirming that the Scottish Government intends to “bring forward legislation” to strengthen the current law on fox hunting.
The FM was challenged on the Government’s position on fox hunting in today’s First Minister’s Questions by Green MSP Alison Johnstone who claims the SNP is in danger of becoming the political party with the weakest stance on fox hunting. Ms Johnstone, who recently launched a Members Bill to protect wild mammals has challenged the First Minister to match her rhetoric on fox hunting with action.
The Scottish Government announced in January it planned to introduce a Bill to close loopholes in the Protection of Wild Mammals (Scotland) Act 2002 but this commitment was omitted from the Programme for Government published in September.
Director of the League Against Cruel Sports Scotland, Robbie Marsland said: “The League is encouraged to hear the First Minister reiterate the Scottish Government’s intention to strengthen the current fox hunting law after it was seemingly dropped from the Programme for Government.
“This is an important Bill which will close loopholes in the current legislation and really ban hunting in Scotland once and for all. While we appreciate the pressure on the Scottish Government and Parliament for time we are urging them to make this a priority and start the Bill process as soon as possible.”
Hunting foxes with dogs was banned in Scotland in 2002, two years before the rest of the UK. In seventeen years there has only been one successful prosecution of mounted huntsmen for illegal hunting. The League has been campaigning for the law to be strengthened to close loopholes which it believes allow hunts to hunt in a manner which is very similar to pre-ban, traditional hunting.