Publication - FOI/EIR release

Fox hunts - information and statistics: EIR review

Published: 16 Jan 2020

Information request and response under the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004.

Published:
16 Jan 2020
Fox hunts - information and statistics: EIR review
FOI reference: FOI/201900010192
Date received: 18 Dec 2019
Date responded: 15 Jan 2020
Information requested

1) How many registered hunts are there in Scotland? If possible, I'd like this broken down by location.

2) Since 2002 to date, how many foxes have been killed by hunts? I'd like this broken down into cause of death.

3) Since 2002 to date, how many pups (baby foxes) have been killed by hunts? I'd like this broken down into cause of death.

4) Since 2002 to date, how many pregnant foxes have been killed by hunts? I'd like this broken down into cause of death.

5) How many people have been charged under the Protection of Wild Mammals Act 2002 in relation to breaking the law from 2002 to date? How many of these led to successful prosecutions?

6) How many hunts have been charged in relation to any other illegal activity outwith the 2002 Protection of Wild Mammals Act since 2002 to date.

7) How many times since May 2007, have Scottish Government ministers met with registered hunt representatives as part of lobbying meetings or any other meetings that can be interpreted as
advancing their hunting interests. I'd like this expressed in numerical data.

Response

I have concluded that the original decision should be confirmed, with modifications.

1) How many registered hunts are there in Scotland? If possible, I'd like this broken down by location.

A link to the information held by the Scottish Government on the number of fox hunts operating in Scotland, who are registered with either the Master of Foxhounds Association or the Scottish Hill Packs Fox Control Association, was provided.

Link in original response: https://www.gov.scot/publications/report-review-protection-wild-mammals-scotland-act-2002/pages/3/

2) Since 2002 to date, how many foxes have been killed by hunts? I'd like this broken down into cause of death.

The response stated that this information was not held because the Scottish Government does not require those hunting foxes (with or without dogs) to report number of foxes killed or the cause of death.

I understand that in response to an earlier request for information on 19 February 2019 you asked how many foxes were recorded as having been killed in the last five years and you received a partial response comprising the number of foxes killed under the Fox Control Programme. This includes the number of foxes killed under the programme but not the method of killing. As such, this would not provide information on the number of foxes killed specifically by hunts. When handling this request we should have sought clarification on whether you would have liked to expand the scope of your request to include this information.

Requests 3) and 4) relate to subsets of the information requested under request 2) with respect to pups and pregnant foxes killed by hunts.

As stated in the response to request 2) this information is not held by the Scottish Government because the Scottish Government does not require those hunting foxes (with or without dogs) to report number of foxes killed or the cause of death.

5) How many people have been charged under the Protection of Wild Mammals Act 2002 in relation to breaking the law from 2002 to date? How many of these led to successful prosecutions?

The response stated that this information was not held, but provided a link to the Wildlife Crime in Scotland: 2017 Annual Report. This publication does include statistics on the number of offenses recorded and the number of people proceeded against in Scottish courts for offences relating to hunting with dogs as proscribed under the Protection of Wild Mammals (Scotland) Act 2002.

Since the response was sent the 2018 annual report has been published which updates this information: https://www.gov.scot/publications/wildlife-crime-scotland-2018-annual-report/

6) How many hunts have been charged in relation to any other illegal activity outwith the 2002 Protection of Wild Mammals Act since 2002 to date.

The response stated that this information was not held. The reason for this information not being held is that the record of prosecutions in Scotland relates to individuals. There is no requirement to report on whether an individual charged with a crime is affiliated with a registered hunt.

7) How many times since May 2007, have Scottish Government ministers met with registered hunt representatives as part of lobbying meetings or any other meetings that can be interpreted as advancing their hunting interests. I'd like this expressed in numerical data.

The response to this request provided a link to details of all ministerial engagements from May 2016 to June 2019. Information on the number of meetings with registered hunt representatives from 2007 until May 2016 was provided in the response.

Original response: "Although we do not hold the specific information you were looking for, details of all ministerial engagements from May 2016 to June 2019 are published on the Scottish Government website at https://www.gov.scot/collections/ministerial-engagements-travel-and-gifts/

Outwith this timeframe, from 2007, Scottish Government Ministers met with hunt representatives, whose hunts are registered with either the Master of Fox Hound Association or the Scottish Hill Packs Fox Control Association, on three occasions."

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Contact

Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
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