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David Henderson reports
"The report was commissioned by the Scottish Executive"
 real 28k

Labour MSP Mike Watson
"The inquiry seems only to have talked to one side"
 real 28k

Monday, 26 June, 2000, 08:18 GMT 09:18 UK
Hunting report under fire
A hunt
Hunts are held in many rural areas of Scotland
The official report into the likely effects of a ban on hunting with hounds in Scotland has been criticised ahead of it being published.

The Labour MSP, Mike Watson, who is steering the legislation through parliament, said the report was one-sided.

The Macaulay Institute is expected to say that as few as 20 full-time jobs would be lost in Scotland.

Campaigners who want fox hunting to stay had said that thousands of jobs would disappear.

Despite the report appearing to back the stance taken by Mr Watson, he told BBC Scotland: "The inquiry seems only to have talked to one side of the argument.

Tricia Marwick
Tricia Marwick: Losses "false"
"At no stage was either myself or Tricia Marwick, my co-sponsor, spoken to, nor was the Scottish campaign against hunting with dogs.

"I regard this as really failing in the Scottish Executive's initial test, that it should be a factual and impartial report.

"On the basis of who they spoke to, I don't see how that can be claimed."

Mr Watson hopes his legislation will become law by the autumn.

Part-time impact

Ms Marwick, a Scottish National Party MSP, said estimates of job losses from the Conservatives and the Countryside Alliance "have been shown to be totally false".

But Doug Ross, of the Countryside Alliance, said if the leaked Macaulay figure of 20 was true, only full-time equivalent jobs had been counted.

Many more people relied on fox hunting for vital part-time employment in the countryside.

The Wild Mammals Scotland Bill has already survived a legal challenge, when three members of the Scottish Countryside Alliance said the introduction would harm their livelihoods.

Court judgement

But Lord Johnston ruled that the courts could not interfere in parliamentary business.

Similar steps are being made in England and Wales to ban fox hunting.

The Burns Inquiry report said that up to 8,000 jobs depended on the sport south of the border and that it was more humane to shoot foxes.

The Countryside Alliance claimed 16,000 jobs would be hit in England and Wales.

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See also:

17 Jun 00 | Scotland
MPs defy hunt abstention call
16 Sep 99 | UK
Fox hunting: The issues
12 Jun 00 | Scotland
Pledge to rethink cut in MSPs
18 Apr 00 | UK Politics
Call to examine 'English question'
21 Mar 00 | Scotland
MSPs consider anti-hunt bill
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