Call for outright ban on fox hunting ahead of Boxing Day hunts


Despite being banned loopholes mean hunts still regularly take place 

26th December 2016 by Robert Armour 0 Comments

Animal rights campaigners are calling for an outright ban on fox hunting in Scotland ahead of the Boxing Day hunts.  

OneKind, the animal campaigning group, is calling on the Scottish Government to end fox hunting for good on the busiest day in the hunting calendar.

Despite fox hunting being banned in Scotland under the Protection of Wild Mammals (Scotland) Act since 2002, loopholes in the law has mean hunts still take place regularly and show signs of increasing. 

In 2015 the SNP threatened to vote against amending the Hunting Act covering England in Westminster, derailing the UK government’s plan to weaken the Act so that it was on par with the Scottish law.

At the time, Angus Robertson, the SNP leader in Westminster and now deputy party leader, said that “we totally oppose foxhunting”. 

This year is seen as being a landmark year which saw the publication of Lord Bonomy’s review into fox hunting in Scotland, and the first post-mortem of a hunted fox since the ‘ban’ was introduced in 2002.

Harry Huyton, director of OneKind, said: “The hunts will yet again go out today and foxes will be killed. Some may even be ripped apart by the packs of hounds that continue to be used by the hunts throughout the country. We are calling on the Scottish Government to act as early as possible in 2017 to ensure this is the last Boxing Day this cruel ‘sport’ darkens the festive period.”

The Bonomy Review was commissioned by the Scottish Government to ensure the legislation is providing the necessary protection for foxes. Last month, Lord Bonomy published his review, and we believe it supports our longstanding view that the ban is unfit for purpose.

His review highlighted the failures of the current law as Scottish hunts have continued to carry out their activities after the ban by claiming that it is for pest control. Lord Bonomy suggests that this reasoning is a “decoy” to allow traditional hunts to still take place.

The review also estimated that approximately 160 foxes are killed by hounds in Scotland each year.

Huyton continued: “The Scottish Government is now armed with the Bonomy review, which gives a clear mandate to close the loopholes that undermine the so-called ban. We hope to see the cabinet secretary coming forward with a timetable for these reforms in the new year.”

Last month, as TFN reported, OneKind released results of a post-mortem on a fox which had been hunted legally under the current law. The autopsy showed that the fox suffered significantly before it died, and while it had been shot, it was highly unlikely that this was the cause of death.  It concluded that the fox had died “due to a combination of respiratory failure, blood loss and shock” and that “this will have caused significant unnecessary suffering to the fox.” 

Huyton added:  “The suffering of this fox as it was ripped apart by the hounds was inexcusable, and yet over 150 foxes are thought to die like this in Scotland every year. The public want this cruelty banned, and so does the Scottish Government. There is no excuse not to act quickly in 2017 to close the loopholes and ban fox hunting for good.”