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Protection of Wild Mammals (Scotland) Act 2002

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Title: Protection of Wild Mammals (Scotland) Act 2002  
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Subject: Coursing, Sports law, List of Acts of the Scottish Parliament from 1999, Scots law
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Protection of Wild Mammals (Scotland) Act 2002

The Protection of Wild Mammals (Scotland) Act was passed by the devolved Scottish parliament in February 2002, making Scotland the first part of the United Kingdom to ban traditional fox hunting and hare coursing.

Passage of the Act

The Protection of Wild Mammals (Scotland) Bill was introduced into the Scottish Parliament by Mike Watson MSP with support from SNP MSP Tricia Marwick. In September 2001, the Scottish Parliament rejected a negative committee report [1] about the Bill from its Rural Development Committee and voted to support the general principles of the Bill.[2] In February 2002 the Parliament voted by eighty three to thirty six to pass the legislation to ban hunting with dogs.[3] MSPs decided not to give compensation to those whose livelihoods or businesses might suffer as a result of the ban. The Act came into effect on August 1, 2002.

Impact of the ban

An article in the Guardian on 9 September 2004 reports that of the ten Scottish hunts, nine survived the ban, using the permitted exemption allowing them to use packs of hounds to flush foxes to guns (an exemption which is strongly opposed by people against hunting).

A number of convictions have taken place under the Act, two for people hunting foxes and ten for hare coursing. The only prosecution of a traditional fox hunt led to a not guilty verdict, but to a clarification of the law, with the sheriff saying that the activity of flushing foxes to guns "will require to be accompanied by realistic and one would expect, effective arrangements for the shooting of pest species. The use of what might be termed "token guns" or what was described by the Crown as paying lip service to the legislation is not available ... as a justification for the continuation of what was referred to in the evidence before me as traditional foxhunting." [4]

There is controversy over the impact on the number of foxes killed by hunts. Hunts say that the number killed by hunts has doubled because shooting is more effective than chasing with dogs.

Since the ban 2 new fox hunts have started in Scotland, the Strathappin and the Dumfriesshire and Stewartry.

See also

External links

  • Text of the Protection of Wild Mammals (Scotland) Act 2002 as in force today (including any amendments) within the United Kingdom, from the UK Statute Law Database
  • Full text of the Bill, Scottish Parliament [5]
  • List of convictions under the Act [6]
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