- Stage 2 now complete after amendments were voted on during a RAINE Committee session
- Stage 3 to begin in mid-January where further amendments can be tabled
- Stage 3 completion likely to run into February
- Legislation in effect from early Summer 2023
Where we stand
Stage 2 passed as expected in the RAINE Committee’s December session. Green, Labour and SNP members voted down most of the Tory amendments. The Tories and SNP voted down most of the Green and Labour’s amendments and the SNP, having majority, voted their own amendments through. Amendments from the rural sector were tabled via a number of members and amounted to circa 149 amendments. Working with many of the rural membership organisations, the Scottish Countryside Alliance (SCA) submitted a significant amount of these amendments, but few were accepted. Some were technical adjustments whilst others were more significant, relating to trail-hunting, rabbits, terriers and the licence itself.
One change that was made by Minister McAllan was the proposal of a 14-day licence which, as we know, was completely unworkable. It is apparent that the Minister accepted our evidence and extended this to a 6-month licence. Whilst this is still relatively disappointing, we welcome the move and encourage the Minister and members to continue to work with us to amend key areas of the bill so that proper wildlife management can continue.
In the coming days and weeks, the SCA will once again meet with Minister McAllan and NatureScot’s licensing office. We will be discussing the final stage of the Bill and presenting evidence to support our amendments that will be tabled during Stage 3. This stage certainly is a delicate one and the Bill will go down to the wire. We expect last-minute wrecking amendments from the Greens and Labour in an attempt to derail the Bill. Both parties oppose the licensing scheme altogether and wish to see an end to the killing of animals in general. Their agenda is quite clear, and they do not shy away from it.
What is also clear is that this Bill will not be straight-forward. The SCA recently launched an appeal to help fund what is likely to become a convoluted and expensive process should sufficient amendments not be made. If you are able to contribute, you will be greatly assisting in challenging unnecessary and oppressive legislation. Please donate here.
We are entering the final stage of the Bill so it is more important than ever to lobby our MSPs face to face. We have devised a lobby guide so that you can fully understand what is involved in the lobbying process.
If you would like more information on what to lobby your MSP on, please contact [email protected] or [email protected]. We will be happy to update you on the key topics for Stage 3. The up-to-date Bill (post-Stage 2 amendments) can be found here.