Animal activists hail Holyrood move to firm up anti-hunting laws
Animal welfare campaigners have hailed the decision by the Holyrood parliament to toughen anti-hunting laws as a wake-up call to Westminster.
Miri McAllan, the Scottish governments environment minister, said chasing and killing a wild mammal with a dog had no place in modern Scotland, as MSPs voted 90 to 30 for the hunting with dogs bill, which aims to close loopholes 20 years after a ban on foxhunting was first put in place, in 2002.
It means hunters will no longer be able to use packs of hounds to flush out wild mammals unless they have a licence, and also pre-emptively prohibits trail hunting, where dogs follow an animal-based scent, and which campaigners say has been used as a smokescreen for illegal foxhunting in England and Wales since hunting was banned there in 2004.
McAllan said: Deficiencies in the existing legislation have led to ongoing public concern about the persistence of illegal hunting in Scotland. This bill seeks to close loopholes in the former law as well as prevent others from opening. It does so in pursuit of the highest possible animal welfare standards, while recognising the need for farmers, land managers and environmental organisations to undertake legitimate wildlife management.
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