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Last Updated: Friday, 1 August, 2003, 06:48 GMT 07:48 UK
Hunt row rages one year on
dogs
Dogs are still used to flush foxes out to marksmen
A year after hunting with dogs was banned in Scotland, arguments are continuing over whether the move has benefitted the environment and the economy.

Nine of Scotland's 10 foxhound packs are still operating under the ban and the 10th is planning a comeback

Most mounted hunts have now become gun packs with hounds used not to kill, but to flush foxes from cover for marksmen to shoot.

The practice is considered more humane and is still legal under the rules of the ban.

However a huntsman in the Borders is facing prosecution for allegedly allowing his dogs to overstep the mark.

Pro-hunters insist the ban has resulted in the loss of jobs in rural communities and claim a rising fox population has led to more lambs and other farm animals being killed.

'Humanely controlled'

Malcolm Bell MacDonald, joint master of the Dumfriesshire hunt, said there was still a demand for foxhunting using the legal gun packs.

He said: "Gun pack might not actually be hunting but it is all our urban masters have decreed we are allowed to do.

"In our opinion, fox welfare has been damaged. More foxes are wounded than ever before, but it is what we can do so we intend to do it."

Anti-ban placard
The ban sparked protests from rural workers
Anti-hunt campaigners believe foxes are being more efficiently and humanely controlled since the ban was put in place.

They have been closely watching the gun packs for any breaches of the legislation.

They also say a move could be made to seek an outright ban on all hunting with dogs, a move they hope is about to happen in England.

Les Ward, chairman of the Scottish Campaign Against Hunting with Dogs, said: "South of the border they are seeking a total ban on hunting with dogs - there will be no flushing if they are successful.

"In two or three years, if flushing is shown to be dodgy up here, we will return to the parliament and seek a total ban."




WATCH AND LISTEN
BBC Scotland's Willie Johnston
"In may no longer involve the thrill of the chase, but hunting goes on"



SEE ALSO:
Hunt ban challenge fails
20 Jun 03  |  Scotland
Fox hunt master in court
08 May 03  |  Scotland
'Chaos' warning over hunting ban
01 Aug 02  |  Scotland
Countryside 'betrayed' by hunt ban
13 Feb 02  |  Scotland
Fox-hunting ban passed
13 Feb 02  |  Scotland


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