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Hunting in Scotland

Cu-Luath Whippets

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Just in case anyone interested in coursing missed the news - you may now be aware that the Scottish Parliament decided yesterday 13th Feb to approve a bill which aims to ban all forms of hunting with dogs.

The bill is due to come into effect in August this year.  It would appear there are some fatal flaws in it and it will now go to various courts to see if it can be thrown out before the law is finally ratified.  Many lawyers consider the bill unworkable and unenforceable and will not serve the purpose for which it was intended.  The Scottish Parliament threw out ALL forms of compensation for anyone losing their job by this bill and yesterday rushed through approx 160 amendments in around 4-5 hours, some which contradict each other.  It also leaves a lot of dog owners, especially hound type breed owners with more than 3 dogs, in Scotland with a lot of very worrying queries about the freedom just to excercise their dogs.

For those who want the freedom to choose their country sport and the way they excercise their dogs in the remainder of the UK, and compensation paid where people lose their jobs because of Parliament can I suggest that they look long and hard at the progress of the proposals before Parliament in London.  

I do NOT want to start a topic that discuss the morals or not of hunting - as that I feel is a personal decision for everyone.  But I do think we should look long and hard at what is proposed as it may well affect every individuals freedom to excercise their dogs.
Hi June

        I think everybody knows my views on hunting/fieldsports, so i'll not bore people again.

I totaly agree with you this bill is ridiculous, this bill if enforced would stop a person from exercising more than three dogs in a place were they may chase a rabbit/hare/fox.

The only good thing that might come out of the Scotish bill is that it will give the English government time to open their eyes and put a stop to a ban down here.

It will also give the English dog owner a chance to see what a ban would mean to us down here and hopefully then everybody will stand together and maybe JUST MAYBE Mr Blair will sit up and realise that what he is planning is wronge.

for the whole country not just the countryside
Further to my original posting and Mark's comments, we now learn that in order to progress this Bill, the Scottish Parliament will have to set aside a sum of money from the public purse.  The sum being talked about is around £1million.  Money which is desperately needed in Scottish schools and the NHS, which is suffering from staff and equipment shortages with beds being closed, operations being delayed / cancelled etc.

I can only reinforce Mark's comments, beware if they try and bring this bill in in England - the implications are far reaching for EVERYONE.
Hi June

        as you know i'm not one for pointing out peoples short commings   :p

but if the good members of this site need more evidence of wasting money a Scottish MP has tabled a motion to ban fur farms in Scotland, A motion I would fully back had the last Scottish fur farm not volentaraly closed its doors in 1993.

is this yet another case of MPs useing tax payers money to ban something that doesn't need banning.

it's a shame they don't spend time (and money) tackling the drugs problems, stopping crime and getting the NHS back on it's feet.

Oh sorry that would mean hard work and might not work, were as banning fur farms that dont exist and hunting that hurts no one are easy targets and make it look as if they earn their keep.
I append below an extract from an article published in a Sunday newspaper yesterday written by Dorothy-Grace Elder MSP - a self confessed left-winger, soppy about animals, urban dwelling and  to quote her 'the type of person fox hunters hate most'.  I add it to this forum because it highlights better than I could the total cost and stupidity of this Wild Mammals bill.

"Why did I join a rebellion AGAINST the ban on hunting with hounds?

In this case, it's because politicians were acting like new lairds-not only throwing people out of work, but refusing to pay compensation.  That was a fence too high to jump.

I felt the Bill had sunk into muddled class warfare.

MSPs are supposed to hound employers who dodge paying workers compensation.

But this time the tofu toffs were voting people out of jobs and refusing to pay a penny even to humble stable hands.

There are many other reasons this Bill angered me.

Our Parly has never before debated an issue for more than 6 hours - the problem of poverty merited only an hour.  Nuclear weapons half that!

Ill health and poverty are culling more human beings in Glasgow than hunts cull foxes in Scotland.

Yet I have to tell mothers with severe breast cancer that the NHS in the west of Scotland won't pay for drugs to prolong their lives because of post-code prescribing - which our Parly hasn't had TIME to discuss or debate.

This Bill won't just cost taxpayeers the £1Million being earmarked for legal actions from the green wellie mob.  It has already Cost us the THOUSANDS of hours spent by MSP's, their assistants, Bill draughtsmen, clerks and researchers which must be paid for somehow - while we allow humans to occupy hovels we wouldn't stable horses in.

There's so much MORE that needs to be done in this first Scottish Parliament rather than this crazy class war.....

As a backbencher, I felt affinity with the stable hands-especially when MSPs were so pampered on the debate day.  Smoked salmon sandwiches and pakora were laid on as £42,000-a-year MSPs prepared to vote £12,000-a-year folk out of their jobs.

My finger moved ever nearer the 'No' button yet, in the end, backbench rebels like me were not allowed to air our views.

The "new lairds" of the front benches dominated, as usual."

So PLEASE - DON'T let this happen in England.  Everyone of us can make a difference, or pay the price.
Hi BeeJay

           Sorry for the delay,

The way the bill is worded it will still allow pest control, Ie: Rabbiting fox control ext,(FOR NOW) But no more than 3 people or three dogs are allowed to take part so,

if one person took 20 dogs out on leads thats ok as theres no danger of then chasing anything.

BUT the problem is if you take four dogs out off the lead in wood fields ect and they chase a squirrel/Rabbit ect then you're breaking the law. becouse there is one dog to many?

(they do not need to be Hounds any breed would be included)

OR if 4 people go out with one dog and it chases a rabbit ect then they to are breaking the law. becouse there is one person to many?.

this bill will not only stop Hare Coursing/Fox Hunting ect but in theory will stop 4 old ladys from walking round their local park together with a dog each as the park has a few Rabbits and one of the dogs may chase one,

I know it sounds daft but in theory that is what the bill WILL mean,

hope this clear things a bit for you.
Hi Beejay

My apologies for not replying sooner, but I only get Internet access occasionally.

Mark's response covers one option of the proposed English legislation, hence my comment about 3 dogs, sorry my piece was not too clear in meaning one English option.

The Bill as passed in Scotland applies to one or any number of dogs, whether they belong to you or not, if they are in your care.  If guilt is suspected - you, your dogs and equipment can be arrested without a warrant.  You dogs (not only those with you, but any others you had which might also be used for hunting) and equipment can be confiscated and would then be returned only as and when you were found not guilty.  However long that may take?

I assume therefore that you are guilty until you prove you  are innocent, not the other way around?

I have had several discussions with whippet owners up here and there are grave concerns that a lot seems to hang on your word versus someone elses.  

For example:  If my neighbour bears me a grudge, complains that he has seen me hunting with my dogs (even if I havent been) - do I get arrested and my dogs taken from me?  Or will his complaints be ignored as his word versus mine, or will I be 'watched' by the police thereafter?  

No-one seems to know, but it is worrying.  

The law seems to hang on going out with the intent to hunt - so it might just be that if you're out like me with 5 whippets running around in the forest and 5 leads and no 'hunting' gear they would accept you were walking the dogs.  We walk in a forest which has signposted cycle and walking tracks, and is promoted as a tourist attraction, although due to size (about 20x24miles!) we dont see too many people!

Certainly no serious hunter would hunt in an area which was open to the public, who drive most wildlife away!

But I it is open to some subjective decisions!

The exceptions for special circumstances which are listed, covering flushing out mammals, capturing mammals, etc again do not allow you to kill with the dog, only flush out and only above ground and there is no reference to numbers of dogs.  (A pack is considered to be 2 or more dogs).

If you want a chat sometime, send me an email and I'll give you my telephone number.  However I am certainly no expert on this!   Just a very worried owner!

Cu-Luath Whippets said:
"if you're out like me with 5 whippets running around in the forest and 5 leads and no 'hunting' gear they would accept you were walking the dogs.  

Hi June

        if someone was walking a number of lets say whippets in the woods in Scotland, and regardless of whether they were on/off the lead could the dogs not be classed as hunting equipment,

as the definition of hunting equipment would be ~ something capable of being used in the persuit of Game ect (ferrets,guns,dogs,snares ect ect), which even a fat over weight whippet let alone a fit one is more than caperble of as the bill says chases not kill.

I wonder how many members of the Scottish people who walk their dogs in the woods you mention who may not support or take part in hunting have had a fat-lazy dog give chase to a rabbit or squirrel, I cant think of any breed that given a squirrel running in front of it with its tail flapping (entisingly) would not give a little chase at least.

no one who walks a dog is safe from suspician in regards to this bill, it will all depend on how the local PC chooses to interpret the law, hopefully most unlike MPs will choose to ignore it and deal with the more seriouse matters such as drugs/thefts ect, not a day goes by that you dont read or hear of some old lady/gent who has been mugged and left batterd and bruised for pennies by some drugged up thug but thats ok in Scotland as long as the local PC spends his time stopping the the law abbiding locals from walking their dogs or the local lad who's only crime is letting his dog catch the od rabbit for the pot (food pot not drugs)

Hi Barbara

             I've found a worrying bit that has changed a piece from rodents to include rabbits, but the way things are going we'll all be eating lettuce and hugging trees,

and I read a bit that said Police only had to prove intent? so walking a hunting? type dog in an area known to hold rabbits ect could that not be classed as intent even if the dog was on a lead?

it would be no suprise if they change the bill to define a pack as 1,

so a Beagle would be classed as a hunting dog but a lab not? (i'm saying nothing :D  i'd only get into trouble if I did)
Hi Barbara / Mark

There seems to be two trains of thought up here amongst whippet owners

Do what you've always done, and blast you and prove it


My dog will never get off the lead now.

The first few court cases should make interesting reading.  

As yet I have not made up my mind what to do

The Scottish Bill as passed is on the web

I certainly agree with you Barbara that Scotland is going to be the test case for this.  I think I might just move house.

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