The previous legislation that has regulated hunting with dogs, the Protection of Wild Mammals (Scotland) Act 2002 has been an effective piece of legislation making it an offence for a person to deliberately hunt a wild mammal with a dog, and for landowners or dog owners to knowingly allow this to occur. Where the Act permits dogs to be used to flush out foxes for pest control, there are rigorous requirements for their swift dispatch.
The Scottish Conservatives support further legislation to close any loopholes in the law governing hunting with dogs in line with the recommendations of the independent review conducted on behalf of the Scottish Government by Lord Bonomy. We will scrutinise carefully the Bill that the Scottish Government has brought forward to ensure that it is in line with those recommendations.
It must be noted that foxes can cause significant harm to livestock and other wildlife and this bill should not remove effective, efficient and humane control measures so that farmers and landowners can still control fox numbers.
We will engage constructively with the legislation that has been brought forward.