Thousands of people – following on foot, mounted on horseback or lining village squares across Scotland – were out in force on the 1st January 2019 supporting the Scottish Foxhound packs New Year meets.

This annual event is an opportunity for Scotland’s mounted foxhound packs hunts to accept the thanks from those they support, from the farmers and landowners on whose land they protect livestock, game and other ground nesting birds, and to thank their subscribers and the public for their on-going support. This support is contrary to the League Against Cruel Sports’ suggestions of “public concerns of illegal practices”.

Countryside Alliance Director for Scotland, Jamie Stewart, said: “The support the foxhound packs receive from local communities is demonstrable and is absolutely fantastic. Nothing beats hearing the cheers and claps as the packs ride into the square or the centre of the village and seeing the hundreds of people who have turned out to see them. This is the day when we get to thank the hunts for the vital service they provide and offer our continuing support, ahead of what looks like an unwarranted change to the law based on unfound allegations of illegal practices.

“We remain committed to working with the Scottish Government and a wide range of Cross Party politicians to help them better understand the practices employed within the pest control service offered by Mounted Foxhound packs. Responding to Lord Bonomy’s recommendations, we worked with the government and a range of stakeholders including the League Against Cruel Sports to produce a working Code of Practice for Mounted Foxhound packs.

“Much has been made by the press in relation to Green MSP Alison Johnstone’s thoughts on a members bill to further restrict or totally ban the use of fox hounds. We expect an announcement from the Scottish Government in the New Year and hope that this will provide sufficient clarity for those operating a pest control service within the law while maintain the welfare interests of the pest mammal.”