The Scottish Parliament has passed a law restricting the use of packs of dogs to hunt game (particularly foxes).
The Hunting with Dogs Bill aims to close a legal loophole that was left open by Scotland’s previous hunting law, the Protection of Wild Mammals Act 2002.
With the new law it becomes illegal to use more than two canine specimens in game hunting, with exceptions that will require a license.
The so-called is also prohibited trail hunting. This practice involves the dispersion by hunters of the urine of animals such as foxes in areas populated by them and the subsequent “hunting” of dogs, which follow their nose. The trail hunting theoretically it does not involve actual hunting, but since the areas in which it is practiced are the same ones inhabited by game, dogs often smell the smells of animals in the flesh that can end up in the hunters’ sights.
It was and remains illegal to have foxes killed by dogs, which at most can track them down (after which the hunters must kill them by shooting).
The new law is not finding a great reception.
On the one hand, animal welfare associations are afraid that the licensing mechanism, designed to protect farmers who have to protect livestock and birds that nest on the ground, will leave the situation essentially unchanged.
On the other hand, land managers, breeders themselves and conservation groups underline that two dogs are not enough to hunt foxes.
Among the voices in favor is the animal welfare organization OneKind, which celebrates the “monumental day” in which the law was passed, while lamenting the exceptions provided.