Greens renew call for outright fox hunting ban in Scotland

Environment spokesman calls on the Scottish Government to “end this barbarism once and for all”.

Greens renew call for outright fox hunting ban in Scotland Getty Images

The Scottish Greens have again called for an outright ban on fox hunting in Scotland.

Environment spokesman Mark Ruskell called on the Scottish Government to support an outright ban and “end this barbarism once and for all”.

Ruskell claims loopholes in legislation continue to allow foxhunting to take place.

The Scottish Government, including First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, has voiced opposition to the practice and pledged to change regulations after the 2021 Holyrood elections.

The Greens made a similar call last year, ahead of the traditional Boxing Day hunts.

Ministers have said they will implement the recommendations of a review of foxhunting in Scotland by Lord Bonomy, which concluded in 2016.

Ruskell said: “The fox is a much-loved animal and an iconic British wildlife species. The killing of foxes for sport using hunting dogs was meant to have been banned in Scotland in 2002, but in reality, loopholes in the law mean that little has changed.

“Hunts still go out, pursuing and killing foxes, with hundreds of foxes thought to still be killed by hunting dogs.

“Even this year, when many of us have been restricted to our homes by unprecedented public health measures, hunts have continued.

“It’s time that an end was brought to this cruel practice by removing all the loopholes that were built into the current legislation, giving Scotland the watertight ban that the public wants.

“The Scottish Government claims it opposes fox hunting. So ministers must end this barbarism once and for all.”

A spokesman for the Scottish Government said: “Ensuring the highest standards of animal welfare in Scotland is critically important to the Scottish Government.

“That is why, amongst other measures, we have increased the maximum penalty for the most serious wildlife crimes and announced the introduction of licences for grouse-shooting businesses.

“We have pledged to further strengthen the law on the use of dogs for fox control in the next parliament by implementing the majority of recommendations made by Lord Bonomy in his review of foxhunting in Scotland, and we also intend to take further steps to prevent a pack of dogs accidentally or deliberately being allowed to kill foxes.

“Work on several pieces of legislation, including that for fox control, was paused in 2020 to prioritise the legislative changes required in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Legislation on fox control will be taken forward as soon as it is practicable to do so, after the pandemic has eased.”

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