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Monday, 26 June, 2000, 15:32 GMT 16:32 UK
Hunt ban 'would cost jobs'
A hunt
Scotland has 10 mounted hunts
An official report into the economic impacts of a ban on fox hunting with hounds in Scotland has estimated that up to 300 full-time jobs would be lost.

Income to Scottish businesses from the 10 mounted hunts would fall by 260,000, according to the study, carried out by the Macaulay Land Use Research Institute.

The work was commissioned by the Scottish Executive, as legislation introduced by Labour MSP, Mike Watson, works its way through parliament.

His private member's bill could become law by the autumn.

The institute looked at the impact on mounted fox hunting, Scottish hill packs and gamekeepers employed on sporting estates.

Scotland has 10 mounted hunts, five located in the Borders, which kill an average of 543 foxes a year.
A fox hunt
The mounted hunts would cease
Under the bill, these hunts would cease, with the loss of 19-20 directly employed full-time jobs.

A total of 357 households contained 633 people who hunted, the report found. They owned 1,641 horses.

If a ban was introduced, 47% of the households said they would not give up riding, while 35% said they would stop riding altogether. Others were a mixture of the two.

The report concluded: "The main employment effect of a ban is on those most directly connected with the hunts or the follower households. Impacts beyond these in the Scottish economy would be small.

"The total longer-term adjustment could be a net loss of 160-172 jobs."

Knock-on effects

People who took part in the study said that of the 4.36m they spend on hunting, 17% would be re-injected into the economy if hunting were banned, creating 17 full-time jobs.

The impact of a ban on the costs and output of farmers over whose land the hunts meet were found to be minimal.

Further adjustments in the economy would produce 30 more job losses, reflecting the knock-on effects of reduced spending by hunts and households, and their employees.
Incomes would drop, says the report
The study of impacts on gamekeeper employment looked at 905 Scottish Landowners Federation (SLF) members.

They indicated a reduction of 1.97m in expenditure entering the economy, resulting in a loss of another 114 full-time jobs.

The Scottish Gamekeepers Association Chairman, Alex Hogg, expressed his deep concern that so many jobs would go.

There are five hill pack members of the Scottish Hill Packs Association, which use hounds and terriers to assist shooting of foxes and other vermin.

Their activities would not be affected by the proposed legislation.

Report criticised

Before it was published, Mr Watson said the report was one-sided.

He told BBC Scotland: "The inquiry seems only to have talked to one side of the argument.

"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."

The Scottish Campaign Against Hunting with Dogs criticised the Macaulay institute.

"The MLURI did not properly verify the accuracy of the information given to it and failed to offset any job losses by exploring additional or alternative employment opportunities," it said.

Doug Ross, of the Countryside Alliance, said only full-time equivalent jobs had been counted.

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

The BBC's Emma Simpson
"The economic impact of any ban would be very small "
Labour MSP Mike Watson
"The inquiry seems only to have talked to one side"
Background and analysis of one of the most contentious issues in British politics

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The Scottish ban



See also:

17 Jun 00 | Scotland
12 Jun 00 | Scotland
21 Mar 00 | Scotland
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