Alison Johnstone believes the events are cruel and claims the current ban on hunting the animals in Scotland has “failed”. She is seeking a tougher ban in the new year. Fox hunting with dogs was banned in Scotland through the Protection of Wild Mammals (Scotland) Act in 2002, with an exemption for using dogs to flush out foxes for pest control or protecting livestock or ground-nesting birds.
Mounted hunts in Scotland have since offered farmers, landowners and estate managers a pest control service but a review by Lord Bonomy published in 2016 found there were “grounds to suspect” fox hunting takes place illegally and he recommended having independent monitors.
The Scottish Government published the results to its public consultation on the recommendations in his review in June. Ms Johnstone observed a hunt in the Borders with investigators from the animal charity the League Against Cruel Sports.
She said: “Last month I watched in horror as a fox was chased by hunting dogs through the open countryside. Today the Boxing day hunts will go out much like they always have.”