Use of dogs to control foxes and other wild mammals: consultation

A consultation on proposals to strengthen the law relating to the use of dogs to hunt and flush foxes and other wild mammals in Scotland.


On 9 January 2019, the then Minister for Rural Affairs and the Natural Environment, Mairi Gougeon MSP, gave a statement on proposals for fox hunting reform in Parliament, as part of a statement on animal health and welfare. The proposals announced by the Minister were:

  • The implementation of the majority of Lord Bonomy's recommendations[1]
  • A new limit of no more than two dogs to be used to flush foxes or other wild mammals from cover
  • Consideration of a licensing scheme permitting more than two dogs to flush foxes or other wild mammals from cover where necessary for the purposes of pest control; and
  • Provision to discourage the establishment in Scotland of the practice known as "trail hunting" as this poses significant risks for wild mammals.

In the statement, the Minister said:

"..despite the ban on hunting introduced by the Protection of Wild Mammals (Scotland) Act 2002, it is clear to me that there remains considerable public concern about fox hunting in Scotland and doubts about the operability of the legislation as it currently stands."

The full transcript of this statement can be found on the Scottish Parliament website.



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