IFAW supporters give their views on why Scotland needs a better hunting ban

It’s been 15 years since the Scottish government introduced its ban on hunting. The ‘Protection of Wild Mammals Scotland Act’ was supposed to be a game changer. It was supposed to protect wild animals such as foxes and mink, from unnecessary cruelty at the hands of those who derive pleasure from chasing- and brutally killing- animals with hounds and horses.

Sadly, this law hasn’t delivered all it originally promised. 15 years on, only one traditional mounted hunt has ever been successfully prosecuted. The spirit of the ban has never translated into real action.

But 2018 could be the year this all changes. In 2016, the Bonomy Review, commissioned by the Scottish Government, took a long hard look at the law and identified numerous ways in which is doesn’t work.

Now, finally, the Government have just completed a public consultation on some of the changes proposed by Lord Bonomy in his review. We responded, calling for a reform of the law to make it truly effective at ending fox hunting – and, fantastically, over 2000 of our supporters in Scotland made their voices heard, too. Thanks to all of you; together we’ve sent a really strong message to the Scottish government!

There were so many fantastic, thoughtful comments left in response to the consultation, passionately arguing for better protection for wild animals. I’ve picked out just a few examples, and some of the main reasons people gave for wanting a better hunting ban for Scotland.

The law should apply to everyone

“The hunts are laughing at the law, they know it doesn't mean them.”

“It was one of the proudest moments of my life when Scotland introduced a hunting bill. Sadly there will always be those who seek to find ways around laws, so loopholes need to be closed. Hunting is a barbaric, cruel pastime which has no place in a civilised modern Scotland.”

“A better hunting ban matters as those who carry out the barbaric practice of fox hunting should feel the full force of the law and be punished. To stop the practice the law needs to act as a deterrent.”

Illegal fox hunting shames Scotland

“We just need the spirit of a ban against fox hunting with dogs and all other cruel activities against animals properly converted into action. The failure of the Scottish authorities to do this does them no credit and shames us as a nation.”

“Scotland has shown recently that it is the standard bearer when it comes to animal rights - banning wild animal acts in travelling circuses - being the first country within the UK to do so. The laws surrounding fox hunting are being flouted every week by the fox hunting lobby. It is completely unacceptable that in a modern, progressive Scotland, a practice like this is allowed to continue. Compassionate Scots have made it clear that this blood sport has no place in Scotland in 2018.”

“Scotland’s wildlife attracts millions of tourists each year and generated a huge amount of money to the economy. Please let’s lead the way and show the rest we are a compassionate animal loving country.”

Hunting is bad for more than just foxes

“The horses and hounds are treated cruelly and as disposable items - horses die from the way they're ridden and hounds die when they chase foxes into traffic. Everything about it is abhorrent and the argument that its traditional is no argument at all - some traditions are inherently bad and this is one of those.”

“Foxes are important natural predators that are essential to the ecosystem's natural balance. Without them and other predators there are too many small mammals. Scotland's biodiversity has become so depleted in the last few hundred years that we need to be trying to build it back up not destroy it completely by hunting for sport. This issue is very important to me as I am an ecology and conservation student and wish to work to preserve our native species.”

It’s barbaric and unnecessary

“This is not sport, this is blood lust. There are more humane ways of culling foxes if the numbers get out of control.”

“Running down a terrified animal, chased by hounds & horses, to the most horrific death, torn to pieces while still alive is indefensible.”

“The types of events I am talking about involve blood-lust at its basest level. These disgusting "sports" belong in the past. How can we criticise the Spanish for bullfighting when we allow this sort of thing to happen in our own country?”


So what next? We’ll be eagerly awaiting the official publication of the consultation results by the Scottish Government. And, to keep the pressure up, we’ll be teaming up with the League Against Cruel Sports and One Kind for a public rally in Edinburgh on 24 March – hope to see some of you there!

--RH

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