MSP’s concerns over hunting bill

Borders MSP Rachael Hamilton spoke of her concern about the Scottish Government’s Hunting with Dogs (Scotland) Bill during a Holyrood debate on the Bill last week.
Rachael Hamilton, MSP.Rachael Hamilton, MSP.
Rachael Hamilton, MSP.

The Bill and has been the focus of concern from many rural organisations across Scotland who are critical of the Bill in its current form.

According to the Government, the Bill addresses the concerns with the language of the 2002 Act by unambiguously setting out the purposes for which dogs can be used, and introduces a two-dog limit for the lawful activity of searching for, and stalking and flushing wild animals.

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MSPs debated the implications of the Bill for animal welfare, pest control and biodiversity. The general principles were agreed to by all but one MSP, although it is expected that those critical of the Bill will bring forward a raft of amendments in the coming weeks.

Ms Hamilton said that she had received hundreds of letters from Borderers who had shared their concerns about the Bill’s unintended consequences for rural livelihoods.

She said: “It was important to highlight the concerns of Borderers and rural workers across Scotland about this Bill. There is a real danger that the unintended consequences of the Bill will damage their livelihoods.

“As I pointed out in the debate on Tuesday, the SNP Government simply fail to understand the needs of rural Scotland. I strongly believe in improving animal welfare while maintaining the practical methods of pest control that this Bill could harm if unamended.”