Fox hunting: Scotland finally has a real ban and that's worth celebrating – Steve Cardownie

The League Against Cruel Sports, of which I am a member, has heralded the historic vote of the Scottish Parliament on January 24 when, by 90 votes to 30, it passed the Hunting with Dogs Bill.
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This has been described as “a monumental day for Scotland” by welfare campaigners and, according to environment minister, Màiri McAllan, will have the “immediate effect” of “modernising and strengthening” the existing legislation.

It will bring in a two-dog limit for all use of dogs in hunting and will also ban trail hunting which, according to the League, is often seen as a “smokescreen” or a loophole for hunts to continue in England and Wales. The League goes on to say that “this is big news. It means that trail hunting will not be legal north of the Border. Scotland will now have the most robust law anywhere in the UK so far. This is something to celebrate.”

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However, there is some concern that a licensing system included in the Bill will allow for a full pack of hounds to be used in certain circumstances. The details have yet to be developed but the fear is that this could potentially be exploited.

Aware of this, the League has pledged to work closely with Nature Scotland and other stakeholders “to ensure the licensing system is robust, effective and fit for purpose". This will entail monitoring hunts to make sure that the new legislation is adhered to.

As Bob Elliot, director of animal-welfare charity OneKind, put it, “for 20 years the Scottish public have made it very clear that they want a real ban on fox hunting. We finally have that ban.”