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Friday, 5 July, 2002, 14:56 GMT 15:56 UK
Hunt ban 'threat' to rural life
Hunt
The ban is facing a challenge in the courts
A ban on hunting with dogs threatens the traditional way of life in the countryside, a court has been told.

David Johnston, a lawyer acting on behalf of pro-hunt individuals and activists, said the Scottish Executive must be prevented from introducing the ban on 1 August.

Nine individuals and bodies have lodged petitions at the Court of Session in Edinburgh alleging that the Protection of Wild Mammals (Scotland) Act breaches the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) on four counts.

Court room
The executive is challenging the action
Mr Johnston said that hunting was not only an activity carried out by a minority of people at certain times of the year, but a focal point for entire communities.

He said: "Hunting is not a mere diversion, but it is something that connects its participants closely with one another and it is a core part of their lives.

"Not only because of the opportunity to go hunting, but also because of the wider opportunities made available to members of the community for social interaction."

Mr Johnston said that the Borders community in particular would be severely affected by the ban because of the amount of organised hunts that take place in the region.

"The removal of fox hunting from the Scottish Borders would result in a profound and deeply felt cultural impoverishment," he said.


The ministers gave an undertaking to parliament that they would bring the Act into force in advance of the next hunting season

James Wolffe, Executive lawyer
Mr Johnston said the Scottish Parliament had exceeded its powers by passing a law which infringed people's human rights.

Previously James Wolffe, a lawyer for the Scottish Executive, had argued that ministers could not give in to public pressure when passing laws.

He referred to a letter sent to the executive by the protesters warning them that they were planning legal action.

He said: "The ministers gave an undertaking to parliament that they would bring the Act into force in advance of the next hunting season.

"They have a responsibility to perform, including a responsibility for the implementation of legislation which has been duly enacted."

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

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The Scottish ban

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See also:

04 Jul 02 | Scotland
03 Jul 02 | Scotland
02 Jul 02 | Scotland
14 Feb 02 | Scotland
13 Feb 02 | Scotland
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