Scottish ministers considered ditching a ban on "extremely cruel" fox traps 30 years ago, it has emerged.
A ban on using fox traps could have been lifted 30 years ago
The countryside lobby complained to the Scottish Office in 1969 that attacks on lambs were soaring due to the ban on gin traps which have serrated jaws.
The devices were laid in the middle of pools and would shut and drag a fox into the water where it would drown.
National Archives of Scotland documents released on New Year's Day revealed the plans to listen to the landowners.
The government papers from 1971 showed then Scottish Secretary Gordon Campbell told lobbyists he would bear in mind their case.
But he told them he would have to balance their arguments carefully against those of other interests before taking any action.
However, ministers later told the Scottish Landowners Federation and the National Farmers Union (NFU) of Scotland they would not lift the ban because such a move would spark outcry from animal welfare groups.
Instead they advised landowners to use more "humane" methods of culling foxes such as hunting with dogs, shooting, snaring, poisoning or gassing.