by Countryside Alliance

Attempts by the Scottish Greens to hijack legislation has been foiled by common sense. An amendment that was tabled to prevent essential pest control with the use of dogs, has been dismissed. 

Scottish Greens and Scottish Labour have been condemned for attempting to amend the Dogs (Protection of Livestock) (Amendment) (Scotland) Bill in such a way that actually put livestock at risk. Mr John Finnie, Highlands and Islands regional member, tabled an amendment to remove the exemption for dogs that lawfully hunt being “at large” on agricultural land in proximity to sheep. 

Packs of dogs are used throughout Scotland, including the Highlands, at the request of farmers to flush foxes so they can be shot. However, Mr Finnie’s amendment risked encouraging the misreporting of alleged hunting offences and would have created a further means to harass rural workers - wasting police time and resources. Lord Bonomy’s recent review of hunting legislation found that “the use of packs of hounds to flush out foxes 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”. 

The amendment only referenced dogs that lawfully hunt, not other dogs that are exempt from the Dogs (Protection of Livestock) Act 1953 which this Bill seeks to amend. It is therefore clearly an amendment driven by ideology not by animal welfare. 

Scottish Countryside Alliance spokesman Ed Rowlandson said: 

“Common sense has won the day. Farmers across Scotland will be grateful that essential pest control can still be carried out on their land despite attempts by the Scottish Greens, supported by Scottish Labour, to prevent them from doing so. 

“Once again we have seen how the animal rights lobby has risked the welfare of animals. Political parties need to wise up to attempts by outside groups that prioritise their ideology over animal welfare. 

“Rural communities need assurances that their livelihoods will not be jeopardised at every opportunity by an animal rights lobby who will do anything to get their way, including risking livestock in a bill meant to improve their protection.”  


Notes to editor 

Dogs (Protection of Livestock) (Amendment) (Scotland) Bill

Dogs (Protection of Livestock) Act 1953

Lord Bonomy’s Report of the Review of the Protection of Wild Mammals (Scotland)

John Finnie MSP’s amendment to the Dogs (Protection of Livestock) (Amendment) (Scotland) Bill


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