Green MSP, Alison Johnstone, has stated that she intends to bring forward a member’s bill at Holyrood that would impose a total ban on hunting.

Jamie Stewart, Director of the Scottish Countryside Alliance said: “Ms Johnstone seems to have wholly misunderstood both the current legislation and the review carried out by Lord Bonomy on behalf of the Scottish Government.

“The Protection of Wild Mammals (Scotland) Act 2002 already bans the deliberate hunting of a wild mammal with a dog. Since its inception in 2002 the charge has resulted in hundreds of charges with a 53% conviction rate.

“The legislation does allow the continued use of dogs to find and flush foxes which need to be shot to protect livestock and gamebirds. In his review Lord Bonomy found that:

The use of packs of hounds to flush out foxes to be shot remains a significant pest control measure, both to control the general level of foxes in an area as well as to address particular problems affecting a farm or estate.

“And in response to suggestions that the number of dogs allowed in such activity should be restricted he found:

That searching and flushing by two dogs would not be as effective as that done by a full pack of hounds, but also that imposing such a restriction could seriously compromise effective pest control in the country, particularly on rough and hilly ground and in extensive areas of dense cover such as conifer woodlands.

“And importantly he stated that:

Whatever the outcome of this Review, wild mammals will continue to be killed for pest control reasons. Sentiment has no part to play in evaluating the material presented to and gathered in the course of the Review. Conclusions have to be based on evidence

“Unfortunately, Ms Johnstone does not seem to have considered the evidence or conclusions presented by Lord Bonomy. If she had she would realise that there is no justification whatsoever for any further restrictions on the use of dogs in pest control.”