The current laws on fox hunting are unworkable and the Scottish Government needs to consult on banning the practice outright.
So says Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale MSP Christine Grahame in the wake of last week’s scrapping of the Westminster vote on Conservative proposals to water down restrictions on fox hunting in England and Wales.
If successful, it would have seen the restriction that only two dogs can be used by hunts in England and Wales changed and mirror the practice in Scotland that permits an unlimited number of foxhounds used to flush a fox from cover towards waiting marksmen. The vote plan collapsed, however, after the SNP made it known its large contingent of MPs would break with the convention of not voting on English and Welsh-only issues and vote against the changes.
And Ms Grahame, the SNP convener of the cross-party group in the Scottish Parliament on animal welfare, says the whole issue now needs reviewing north of the border.
“The Protection of Wild Mammals (Scotland) Act 2002 was initially introduced in 1999 as a Members Bill, not a Government Bill,” she told The Southern.
“I initially signed up to the proposal, as I am wholly opposed to fox hunting, but once the actual bill was drafted, I did not support it as I felt it was a badly drafted law and was unworkable. This has been proven as it is difficult, if not impossible to police, particularly in our remote Borders valleys. It disturbs all wildlife and, indeed, heaven help any domestic animal caught up in the hunt.
“I would like to see the Scottish Government consulting on banning the practice of hunting outright and this would allow a proper discussion on the issue of ‘pest’ control as distinct from hunting for sport.”
And SNP MP for Berwickshire, Roxburgh & Selkirk, Calum Kerr, defended his party’s decision to scupper UK Government plans to relax the ban on fox hunting in England and Wales.
“We’re fulfilling our promise to be a force for progressive politics whenever we can,” he stated.