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Wednesday, 13 February, 2002, 06:48 GMT
Fox hunting: The Scottish bill
Fox hunt
The bill set out to have hunting with hounds banned
Labour politician Mike Watson was the MSP who sparked the fierce debate north of the border into the ban on fox hunting.

He submitted a members' bill, titled the Protection of Wild Mammals (Scotland), on March 1, 2000. It was supported by Tricia Marwick, Scottish National Party MSP.


The bill set out to have prosecuted anyone who;

  • hunts a wild mammal with a dog

  • is an owner or occupier of land who allows someone to hunt on their property

  • is an owner or keeper of a dog who allows someone to use their animal to hunt

  • is an owner or keeper of a dog who intends to use it to hunt.

But the bill did list notable exceptions.

It said groups or individuals could apply for a special licence to "stalk a wild animal under close control" in order to control that species in the interest of the future welfare of that species.

The special permission would also be granted in order for an individual or group to protect livestock, fowl, game birds or growing crops from attack by wild mammals.

Definitions
To hunt includes to search for or course
The occupier includes any person who has control of land
Wild mammals can be wild mammals which have been released from captivity
A wild mammal can also be any mammal which is living wild

The licence would be valid for a year but could be revoked at any time by a Scottish minister.

Also, it would not be illegal to hunt a fox or a hare if the intention was to eat it.

However, it would be outlawed if the intention was to sell the carcass for human consumption.

A wild mammal which has escaped from captivity such as a zoo can be hunted legally and a dog can be used to locate a mammal which is believed to have been seriously injured.

If the police suspected someone of contravening the hunting law they could;

  • arrest that person

  • stop and search that person

  • search or examine a vehicle

  • seize and detain a vehicle, animal or article which may be used in evidence.

A person found guilty of an offence could be jailed for up to six months and they could be disqualified from owning a dog which is typically used for hunting.

If that person fails to hand over such a dog then they would be in breach of a further offence.

Amendments have been submitted in relation to the bill and they will be debated during a six-hour session in the Scottish Parliament on Wednesday.

Background and analysis of one of the most contentious issues in British politics

Latest stories

The Scottish ban

Analysis

Background

TALKING POINT
See also:

13 Feb 02 | Scotland
12 Feb 02 | Scotland
08 Feb 02 | Scotland
07 Feb 02 | Scotland
Internet links:


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