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Thursday, August 12, 1999 Published at 11:58 GMT 12:58 UK


MSP dismisses Duke's hunting attack

The SNP's Tricia Marwick is co-sponsoring the fox hunting Bill

A sponsor of the Bill to ban hunting with hounds in Scotland has defended the proposals after an attack by one of the country's leading landowners.

Scottish National Party MSP Tricia Marwick said the Duke of Buccleuch was entitled to his views but they were ill informed.

Tricia Marwick: "The number of job losses has been exaggerated"
"The Duke should stop lecturing the Scottish Parliament about what it should do about this matter," she said.

The aristocrat said the campaign to ban hunting with hounds is politically motivated and based on class warfare

He spoke out against the Bill, drafted by Labour MSP Mike Watson and backed by Ms Marwick, to have hunting banned in Scotland within less than two years and warned of serious jobs losses if packs are lost.

[ image: Duke of Buccleuch has been told to
Duke of Buccleuch has been told to "stop lecturing"
Ms Marwick, a Mid Scotland and Fife regional MSP, said: "It is a bit rich of the Duke, who campaigned against a Scottish Parliament, to seek to lecture us about what the Scottish Parliament should do over fox hunting."

"He certainly has a right to put an argument. But people like him have exaggerated the matter of job losses.

"The British Field Society, which is no friend of those who want to ban fox hunting, says there will be around 23 jobs lost.

"As for the horses, it has been estimated that they are used for hunting on just five days of the year.

"And if the fox hunt organisers want to give up their horses I think that says a lot about them that they would sacrifice such beautiful animals because they could not indulge in a barbaric sport on just a few days of the year."

[ image: The Bill proposes to ban hunting with dogs]
The Bill proposes to ban hunting with dogs
But the Duke, speaking at a hound judging contest, said he and his supporters would continue to make peaceful protests.

"Pink politicians from the towns seem to think a ban would be one in the eye for the toffs - the idle rich," he said.

The Scottish Campaign Against Hunting with Dogs, which backs the Bill, said the Duke was out of touch.

Spokesman Les Ward said: "The Duke of Buccleuch argues that the current debate is some sort of battle between town and country people. That is rubbish.

"This is a battle between the 75% of decent-minded Scottish people who want to see this cruel practice eradicated from our landscape and a tiny minority prepared to die in the ditch to defend what is effectively animal abuse," he added.

The Bill is come before the Scottish Parliament in the autumn.

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