The new Hunting with Dogs (Scotland) Act will come into force today, Tuesday October 3rd 2023. The new law will replace the current Protection of Wild Mammals (Scotland) Act 2002, ironing out the loopholes left which have allowed hunts to continue to brutally kill wildlife. This Act should see the end of hunting with dogs in Scotland.

The Act bans ‘trail hunting’ north of the border. One section that may have caused concern is that a licence to hunt could be issued in certain circumstances, however our current understanding is that no licences have been granted. 

The Berwickshire Hunt still attempting to kill fox cubs on September 23rd 2023. Image via Glasgow Hunt Sabs.

The Hunting with Dogs Act was brought to the Scottish Parliament in January this year and voted through in March. The Act has already claimed its first victories after the Lanarkshire & Renfrewshire Hunt called it a day after 252 years of hunting. The Fife Foxhounds have now switched to drag hunting. Glasgow Hunt Sabs even witnessed the Berwickshire Hunt trying their hand at drag hunting, not to be confused with the smokescreen known as ‘trail hunting’. It came as a surprise that the Berwickshire attempted to drag hunt, especially considering they’ve spent the previous few weeks of the season attempting to kill foxes, one of their riders even admitted to sabs “it was time to face reality”.

A disgruntled looking Berwichshire Hunt  packing up. Image via Scottish Borders Hunt Sabs.

As Glasgow Hunt Sabs say…We can’t quite believe we are here writing this. Our sabs along with our predecessors have worked tirelessly for decades, working towards this momentous day. The 2002 Act was deeply flawed and allowed the true vermin of the countryside to continue hunting foxes. 

We have truly felt the horrors of the countryside over the past few years from witnessing kills to dealing with violence and intimidation from the hunting community. Never once did we back down, knowing one day their day would come. And now it has. Watching hunts that have terrorised wildlife for hundreds of years crumble before our eyes is an experience we will never forget. We expect more to follow within the coming months and we won’t stop until the day all fox hunts in Scotland are gone – for good.”

Glasgow Hunt Sabs celebrate the demise of the Lanarkshire & Renfrewshire Hunt

Whilst this is a massive cause for celebration, and we cannot understate the historic nature of the passing of this Act, you will forgive us cynical sabs for remaining vigilant as we see how Scotland’s remaining hunts respond. Rest assured our Scottish sab groups will be watching these hunts like a hawk.

The Scottish Act also has huge implications south of the border. The Scottish Government – in explicitly banning so-called ‘trail hunting’ –  has accepted that this activity is simply a ruse designed to disguise the hunting of live animals. 

With a General Election looming, we now demand that any party committed to animals must include a ban on ‘trail hunting ‘ in their manifesto.  

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