Animal welfare campaigners hailed the decision by the Holyrood parliament to toughen anti-hunting laws as a wake-up call for Westminster.
Màiri McAllan, Scottish government environment minister, said hunting and killing a wild mammal with a dog had ‘no place in modern Scotland’ as MSPs voted 90 to 30 for the bill on hunting with dogs, which aims to fill the gaps 20 years after a ban on fox hunting was put in place in 2002.
This means hunters will no longer be able to use packs of dogs to flush out wild mammals unless they have a permit, and also preemptively bans hunting on trails, where dogs follow an animal scent, and which campaigners say has been used as a smokescreen for illegal fox hunting in England and Wales since hunting was banned there in 2004.
McAllan said: “Flaws in the existing legislation have led to persistent public concern about the persistence of illegal hunting in Scotland. This bill aims to fill the gaps in the old law and prevent others from opening up. It does so in pursuit of the highest possible standards of animal welfare, while recognizing the need for farmers, land managers and environmental organizations to undertake legitimate wildlife management.
“The Hunting with Dogs Bill modernizes the law and I hope it will finally mark the end of illegal fox hunting, hare hunting and other forms of illegal hunting with dogs in Scotland. .”
The League Against Cruel Sports said the legislation resulted in the toughest anti-hunting laws in the UK and increased pressure on England and Wales to review their own legislation.
Two years ago the National Trust, one of the UK’s biggest landowners, banned trail hunting amid fears the practice was masking illegal fox hunting.
Robbie Marsland, Director of League Against Cruel Sports Scotland, said: “Scotland has the most robust law in the UK to date to prevent cruelty from hunting and killing wild mammals for sport – and that’s something to celebrate. Despite persistent campaigning by those determined to keep hunting alive in the Scottish countryside, the Scottish Government is determined to put an end to the sport of hunting, a sentiment which has today been backed by parliament.
“Passing the Hunting with Dogs (Scotland) Bill now provides an opportunity to right the wrongs of the past two decades and close the loopholes that allowed hunters to continue hunting as if the law didn’t exist. not.
“The inclusion of a ban on trail hunting is a significant victory for Scotland, meaning hunts will not be able to use this so-called sport as a smokescreen for traditional hunting.”
The bill also includes a licensing system that will allow the use of a full pack of dogs under certain circumstances. Details of the program have yet to be developed, but animal welfare campaigners fear it could be exploited.