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Hunting with Dogs (Scotland) Bill

Updated Wednesday 8 March, 2023

Stage 3 of the Hunting with Dogs (Scotland) Bill was passed with support from Labour and the Greens on the 24 January with 90 for, 30 against, 0 abstentions, and 9 members not voting.

Further amendments were passed at this stage, including the use of dogs below ground being restricted to one, reporting requirements on the operation of the licensing arrangement when using more than 2 dogs, technical amendments (such as court orders arising from the Bill) and the power to modify the definition of drag hunting. A significant amendment from Labour was passed that prevents a mammal from being dispatched by a dog despite vigorous opposition from the SCA and VAWM vets. Terriers are, however, still allowed to kill rats and mice. We have put together a Q&A sheet following the passing of the Bill, which can be accessed using this link.

The final version of the bill can be accessed here. This new legislation should be in effect from late Summer 2023.

The Scottish Countryside Alliance are currently working closely with Stakeholder organisations and NatureScot to work on the details of a licensing scheme that is fair and accessible for land managers and estate owners.

We are consulting closely with our legal counsel on the matter of licensing, and we wish to clarify certain aspects of the licensing scheme, including further discussions on threshold levels for the license and annual timings for granting licenses. We will work with NatureScot to try to get the guidance right, but we need to be prepared for such things as judicial reviews and funding from our members and supporters is important. Please consider supporting our Scottish Appeal by donating here.

If you would like more information on the Hunting with Dogs (Scotland) Bill, or have any questions, please contact Jill Stewart or Jake Swindells.



On Friday, 29 October 2021, the Scottish Government announced that a consultation will take place on proposals to strengthen the law relating to the use of dogs to hunt and flush foxes and other wild mammals in Scotland.

The Scottish Countryside Alliance has been consulting with stakeholder organisations, as well as its members and interested parties and will remain engaged with MSP's across Scotland.

We are urging those who live and work in the countryside to respond directly and lobby at local level, to ensure that unnecessary and ill thought out legislation is not responsible for the loss of effective and humane working practices throughout Scotland. You can read our commentary on the consultation questions here.

The Scottish Government is now further consulting on a smaller number of factors including: limiting the number of dogs used to flush foxes, licensing of the use of packs (only granted when certain criteria are met) and the banning of trail hunting.

Jake Swindells, Director of the Scottish Countryside Alliance responded to the announcement.

"The government's proposals are unnecessary, unjustified and directly contradict the conclusions of the independent review carried out by Lord Bonomy. It is difficult to imagine a more pointless or illogical consultation, but if the government is determined to push ahead it must ensure that farmers can continue to protect their livestock and wildlife.

Any licensing scheme must be fair, equitable and accessible so the livelihoods of farmers and land managers are not compromised."

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