Fox hunting laws in Scotland set to be strengthened

A hunt leaves Duns in the Scottish Borders.
A hunt leaves Duns in the Scottish Borders.
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Fox hunting laws in Scotland are to be strengthened amid concerns that the banned practice still takes place.

Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham has also confirmed the Scottish Government will create a code of practice for hunts and consider a new monitoring scheme.

Former judge Lord Bonomy called for the law to be tightened last year to extend the time limit for bringing prosecutions, the introduction of vicarious liability, and reversing burden of proof provisions.

Lord Bonomy’s report found there were “grounds to suspect” fox hunting takes place illegally.

Campaigners said strengthening the law will help remove “loopholes” allowing hunts to take place, while a gamekeepers’ organisation said it has “confidence in the accountability” of its members’ legal fox control actions.

Fox hunting with dogs was banned in Scotland in 2002, with the Protection of Wild Mammals (Scotland) Act stating a person who deliberately hunts a wild mammal with a dog is committing an offence, although they can be done for pest control.

Ms Cunningham said: “This package of measures will substantially improve the language used in the existing legislation.”