Hunting with dogs: consultation analysis

Key themes to emerge from our consultation on the use of dogs to control foxes and other wild mammals in Scotland.


1. A campaign response is a response based on a template or model prepared by a campaign organiser. A substantive response is a personalised response. Campaign responses which have been edited / personalised by the respondent before submitting are considered to be substantive responses.

2. Protection of Wild Mammals (Scotland) Act 2002. Sections 2–5 set out the range of 'exceptions' in which dogs may be used in the hunting of wild mammals.

3. The consultation received two (2) responses in .wps (Microsoft Works Word Processor) and one (1) in Apple .pages format. These file formats were unreadable using the current Microsoft Office software available to the analysis team. Although web-based applications are available for converting these files to Microsoft Word or PDF, for data security reasons a decision was taken not to use this software to translate these files.

4. Note that a small number of organisations also submitted campaign responses. These are listed in Annex 1 but are not included in Tables 2.3 and 2.4 above or in the tables in Chapters 3–7.

5. All of the messages from this campaign were sent from ''.

6. These responses made use of the consultation questionnaire. This appeared to have been pre-completed. Respondents then completed their own Respondent Information Form (this was often handwritten), attached it to the pre-completed questionnaire, and sent it to the Scottish Government by post. Some responses submitted by email and through Citizen Space also used this campaign text.

7. Note that respondents also discussed issues relating to the licensing arrangements in response to Question 12 – which asked respondents whether they had 'any other comments' on the consultation. These Question 12 comments have been incorporated into the analysis of Question 2 and are not repeated in Chapter 7.

8. See S Dubois, N Fenwick et al (2017) International consensus principles for ethical wildlife control. Conservation Biology

9. ECHR Article 1 (Protocol 1) states that every natural or legal person is entitled to the peaceful enjoyment of his possessions. No one shall be deprived of his possessions except in the public interest and subject to the conditions provided for by law and by the general principles of international law.

10. In some cases, instead of a number, respondents provide a short text response – e.g. 'two dogs only', 'a full pack of hounds', '10 couples', etc. These were translated into a number as appropriate, and then grouped to allow analysis to proceed.

11. The relevant text from the Lobby Network campaign stated the following: 'Since trail hunting isn't generally practiced in Scotland, why is it under attack? The vast majority of packs utilise trail hunting as a lawful and legitimate practice and it is unreasonable to remove this option without justifiable and sound reasons.'

12. The advice from the British Association for Shooting and Conservation was to answer 'N/A'.

13. Beavers are a European protected species, protected in the UK under the Conservation (Natural Habitats, &c.) Regulations 1994 (as amended).

14. See Schedules 5 and 6 of the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981.

15. Among respondents who answered 'no' at Question 6, half of organisations (13 out of 26) and 58% of individuals (3,323 out of 5,698) selected BOTH 'rabbits' and 'all rodents' at Question 7.

16. The mustelid family includes weasels, stoats, mink, badgers, otters, ferrets, etc.

17. See S Dubois, N Fenwick et al (2017) International consensus principles for ethical wildlife control. Conservation Biology

18. At the time of the consultation, the penalties for offences under the 2002 Act had been recently increased (to a maximum of 5 years imprisonment and / or unlimited fine). However, the actual sentences issued by the courts for convicted crimes tended to be far lower.

19. Note that issues relating to licensing arrangements were also often discussed at Question 12. However, given that licensing arrangements were also raised earlier in the consultation – in response to Question 2 – the material provided at Question 12 was combined with that provided at Question 2, and has been reported in Chapter 3 (paragraphs 3.29 to 3.37).

20. An assumption was made that all those answering '0' at Question 3 wished to see a full ban on hunting with dogs. There were over 3,000 of such respondents (see Table 3.3). It was not possible, given time constraints, to check this assumption fully. However, detailed examination of 300 records confirmed that around two-thirds of respondents who answered '0' at Question 3 made explicit statements either to the effect that they wanted, or would prefer, a full ban on hunting with dogs. The remaining third did not express a clear view in relation to a full ban, although many made comments which expressed disapproval of hunting with dogs. A small number of respondents (approximately 30 of the 300 examined) indicated 2 dogs would be acceptable in certain limited circumstances. It was therefore decided that the answer '0' at Q3 could be taken as a rough proxy for wishing to see a full ban on hunting with dogs.

21. In the interests of efficiency, a decision was made initially to restrict the additional reading to the text for Question 11 (on hare coursing) and the text for Question 12 (other comments). Early familiarisation with the entire database indicated that these two questions attracted more comments than other consultation questions and they both contained material that was relevant for this exercise.



Back to top