by Countryside Alliance

Earlier this month the Scottish Government released their latest consultation on the use of dogs to control foxes and other wild mammals in Scotland. The SCA has submitted a response and has shared this with relevant rural and field sports organisations throughout Scotland. We have also submitted a detailed letter to Ministers, highlighting many of the flaws within the consultation itself. 

We are now urging anyone with an interest in the countryside to help protect our way of life, and to assist those who take part in lawful and irreplaceable methods of control, to help inform the Scottish Government on the detrimental effects their actions will have. It is key that, if you are able, you include any personal, detrimental examples that you have had, or expect to have, should the proposals be enforced. This is not about the welfare of a fox. It is a direct attempt to ban hunting completely by those who don’t like to see effective control of foxes.

The consultation can be completed by anyone, whether individually or from an organisation. Below we have highlighted a number of key points that should assist your response.

The closing date is the 15th December 2021 so please act now!

  • Two dog limit

Attempts to reduce a hunt pack to 2 dogs is not increasing the welfare of the fox. Evidence of this is clearly explained by Lord Bonomy. The two dog limit was plucked out of the air by those who support a ban on hunting to give the impression that they lend their support to legitimate pest control. The evidence shows that a pack of dogs is more efficient at flushing and, when a fox is dispatched by dogs, it occurs almost instantaneously. Reducing the pack number to two will reduce efficiency and welfare.

  • Data collection

Respondents can fill in the form a number of ways, but the most popular way (via Citizen Space on ScotGov website) fails to ask for an address. This will leave the majority of submissions uncorroborated and the process open to abuse. Full details must be requested for this process to be transparent and accountable.

  • Restriction on responses

Severe word limitation on response questions does not allow for sufficient evidence to be submitted. This gives the impression that the consultation is merely a paper exercise.  

  • Licensing

There is no detail as to what kind of licence is being considered. Any licence that is introduced will present a number of unintended and damaging knock-on effects and so any proposal should be thought through carefully. ScotGov should consult with individuals and organisations that will be affected by licensing, prior to implementation. What will constitute “serious” damage when a farmer applies for a licence? Who or what will be licensed? 

  • Protected sites

Has any consideration been given to the negative impact this will have on protected sites? How are negative impacts assessed prior to implementation? Is a European Protected Site Habitat Regulation Assessment planned prior to implementation as the law requires?

  • Trail hunting

Since trail hunting isn’t generally practiced in Scotland, why is it under attack? 

  • Misrepresentation of evidence from Bonomy report and Burns inquiry

Why is the government choosing to ignore and misrepresent independent evidence from the reports it commissioned? Rather than heed the advice in the reports, ScotGov seem to be pushing ahead with an agenda that totally ignores scientific evidence and a wealth of experience. 

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