Alison Johnstone MSP launches draft Bill to protect foxes and hares

Alison Johnstone MSP has launched a public consultation as part of her draft Member’s Bill to provide protection for foxes, brown hares and mountain hares in Scotland.

Here is the press release from the Scottish Greens (24th June 2019):

Scottish Greens Parliamentary Co-Leader Alison Johnstone MSP will today (24 Jun) launch a consultation on her member’s bill to provide legal protections to foxes and hares. The consultation, which will run until mid-September, will gather views from people across Scotland and help shape the final bill proposal.

The fox and hare bill will deliver a real fox hunting ban, closing the loopholes that allow hunting to continue in Scotland now much as it did before the 2002 ‘ban’, and end the killing of hares, which has become routine on grouse moors across Scotland. The proposed Bill would also protect foxes, mountain hares and brown hares, prohibiting the killing of these species without a licence.

Ms Johnstone has brought this Bill forward because foxes and hares are routinely killed in huge numbers, the Scottish Government have consistently indicated their support for action, and because there is widespread public support for action.

[Alison Johnstone MSP launching her consultation outside the Scottish Parliament yesterday supported by League Against Cruel Sports Scotland and OneKind. Photo from Scottish Greens]

Alison Johnstone MSP said:

Foxes and hares are iconic species that are widely celebrated in popular culture and valued by rural and urban Scots alike. They deserve our compassion and respect, yet they are routinely slaughtered across the country in huge numbers. My proposal would give these animals the protection they so urgently need.

The Scottish Government and the First Minister herself have expressed their support for action but have been unable to find the time to bring forward a legislative proposal themselves. I’m confident they will get behind my proposal and together we can protect Scotland’s foxes and hares.

Fox hunting was meant to have been banned in Scotland in 2002, but little has changed. Hunts still go out, pursuing and killing foxes, and foxes are still being killed by hunting dogs. My proposal would remove the loopholes and result in a watertight ban, ending hunting for good. Politicians have repeatedly promised to end hunting, and the Parliament passed the Protection of Wild Mammals Act back in its very first session. For hunting to continue despite this leads to distrust in our institutions and those leading them. My proposals would represent a new contract between land managers and the wider public that could help restore good faith.

Mountain hares are routinely being killed in huge numbers on grouse moors in particular, with an average of 26,000 killed every year. This is a native species whose population has crashed in some parts of the Highlands, and there is simply no justification for the killing.


This news received broad coverage in the national press yesterday but this article from Common Space provides the best overview and includes a quote from Environment Minister Mairi Gougeon.

There’s also a video of Alison encouraging everyone to participate in the consultation:

The consultation is now open and anyone can participate online HERE. The consultation closes on 15th Sept 2019.

Alison has produced a consultation document which is well worth a read. It provides an overview of how the consultation process works and how Member’s Bills work and then goes in to more detail about the proposed Bill.

Download the consultation document here: Protecting Scotlands Wild Mammals_consultation2019

Alison deserves our thanks for her work on this topic to date, particularly on highlighting the obscene slaughtering of thousands upon thousands of mountain hares on grouse moors every year for no legitimate reason whatsoever.

How often do we complain that politicians aren’t doing enough? All the time! Well here’s one who’s going the extra mile, who has created an opportunity to address what she calls the ‘casual and unmonitored approach’ to killing wild mammals in Scotland (sounds familiar – think General Licences) and her consultation deserves our best support.

If scenes like this sicken you, please support Alison’s proposed Bill by filling in the consultation form.

[Slaughtered mountain hares left to rot in a bloodied pile on a grouse shooting estate in the Angus Glens. Photo RPUK]

8 thoughts on “Alison Johnstone MSP launches draft Bill to protect foxes and hares”

  1. An excellent consultation and Bill. Done. I said that Pine Marten needed further protection, similar to the other mammals. I said the reporting of any accidental trapping and killing to SNH should be mandatory. I did not say that the failure to report within 28 days should be an offence, but I should have.

  2. I haven’t had chance to study the proposed bill in detail, but my preliminary reading is that it is all positive. Unfortunately the timing of the proposed law is such that this it will not be unlikely to come before Holyrood until late this year or next year. I wish it could happen sooner. Maybe the Scottish government could be persuaded to bring this forward as government sponsored legislation?

  3. Meantime, the Countryside Alliance members poll is calling for more freedom to slaughter our wildlife. As someone who lives and largely works in the countryside, it sickens me that these people purport to represent my views, as I actually resent, and am repulsed by, virtually everything they do.

  4. Yes please. We must do all we can to protect our glorious wildlife, especially from those who do not value it. x

  5. Done it too. Bill is well worded and hopefully will help our wildlife and stop all the needless cruelty and hunting with dogs. I don’t expect it will pass through easily though. Will be a lot of backlash from the estate owners and shooters. Things have to change for the sake of all our wildlife and birds. They have no voice so ours must be heard for them. It’s disgusting in this day and age what land owners do and get away with, all for the sake of money.

  6. Proposed bill is thorough and needs support to bring long overdue change to our society and progress towards more sustainable development with less emphasis on economic benefits for the already rich sector.l

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