MSP highlights unintended consequences of the new hunting bill

Their concerns were shared during Holyrood’s debate on the bill last week when the MSPs discussed the implications of the bill for animal welfare, pest control and biodiversity.

This bill replaces the 2002 law. It will still be a crime to hunt a wild mammal with a dog except in limited circumstances. For example, hunting with dogs may be permitted to prevent the spread of disease or to protect other animals if the activity meets the requirements in the law about how it should be done. However, it will always be illegal to chase and kill a wild mammal using a dog.

Where hunting is permitted, the bill imposes new limits on the number of dogs that can be used. In some circumstances, people may be able to obtain a license to use more dogs.

The bill also prohibits road hunting except in limited circumstances. Trail hunting is the use of a dog to find and follow an animal-based scent.

The general principles have been approved by all but one of the board members, though critics of the bill are expected to put forward a raft of amendments in the coming weeks.

Ms Hamilton said: “It was important to highlight the concerns of borders and rural workers across Scotland about this bill.

There is a real risk that the unintended consequences of the bill will harm their livelihoods.

“As I pointed out in the debate on Tuesday, the SNP government has simply failed to understand the needs of rural Scotland.

“As an MSP for a largely rural constituency here at Borders, I share the concerns of rural workers that this bill, as it stands, could do irreparable harm to rural livelihoods.

“I am a strong believer in improving animal welfare while preserving practical methods of pest control that this bill could harm if not amended.

“I will work hard to introduce amendments to this Bill to ensure we can protect our wildlife, our livestock and our rural livelihoods across the Scottish Borders.”

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