10,000 consultation responses for proposed bill to ban fox & mountain hare killing in Scotland

Press release from Scottish Greens (22 Sept 2019)

Fox and Hare Bill receives almost 10,000 consultation responses

Alison Johnstone MSP has welcomed the astonishing response to her Fox and Hare member’s bill consultation, which has received almost 10,000 responses from organisations and members of the public. This means the proposal is now the second most responded to member’s bill consultation of all time.

The consultation on the proposed bill, which will officially be known as the Protection and Conservation of Wild Mammals (Scotland) Bill, received 9850 electronic submissions with around 100 paper submissions.

The Scottish Government have previously stated they would act to end the mass slaughter of Scotland’s iconic wildlife, but given the absence of proposals in the programme for government, and recent revelations that a senior cabinet minister supports hunting (see here), it’s clear that Ms Johnstone’s bill is now the only game in town.

[Alison Johnstone MSP launched her fox and hare bill consultation in June. Photo by Gordon Terris]

Alison Johnstone MSP said:

I’m delighted that the consultation on my proposed bill has received such an astonishing response. I’m grateful for the support I’ve received from constituents, colleagues and stakeholders. Although the responses need to be individually analysed over the coming months, I am confident that the they will show overwhelming support for bring the indiscriminate killing of Scotland’s foxes and hares to an end.

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.

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.”


6 thoughts on “10,000 consultation responses for proposed bill to ban fox & mountain hare killing in Scotland”

  1. Mr Ewing’s statement “He argues that the use of footpacks is not only efficient and an effective way to control foxes, but also humane to the fox that is shot quickly by experienced marksmen,”. So does that mean that he is acknowledging that mounted hunts are indeed inhumane? What is his stance on fox hunting in the ‘traditional’ sense? How does he intend to police the fact that foot pack ‘experienced marksmen’, are indeed just that?

  2. No farmer, no shepherd, has ever produced incontrovertible documented evidence of a fox predating a healthy lamb. As usual, they bring pictures of scavenged carcasses and claim that it was a healthy lamb, instead of a standard part of the mortality experienced by sheep lambing in the open, often in hostile habitat, sometimes in hostile conditions, rather than in lambing sheds, and lambs subsequently being reared in the aforementioned hostile environment.

    I have often asked to see the proof – it is never forthcoming: just anecdote and rhetoric.

    1. Well put. It is exactly the same situation with corvids. Whenever I ask for video evidence of a healthy lamb being killed or attacked, they recycle the same old photo of a dead lamb, which was more than likely dead already. Sea eagles, too. They’ve been allowed to control the narrative for far too long and people have had enough. Crofters are the source of much of this propaganda, too.

  3. Well done Allison!!! Fergus Ewing’s comments really show him up for what he is, a disgrace. The RSPB has stopped shooting foxes at Abernethy and apparently the decline of caper has stopped, it’s believed that the foxes keep a lid on pine marten numbers (as opposed to total eradication of latter which is what the SGA etc really want) and thereby help the bird. This was exactly the point made by Kenny Kortland about the successful conservation work done at Strathspey for black grouse and its big cousin on FC land there – the returning predator complex and emphasis on habitat management rather than their control was actually seen as key to the success. Didn’t go down well with some!! Incidentally, Kenny specifically mentioned foxes keeping a limit on marten numbers. On the other hand a retired gamekeeper got together with someone else to co write a paper on the horrendous numbers of caper that die via snaring – they have a predilection for sticking their heads through them! The paper is on page 28 of this newsletter, required reading and does anybody have to ask why the gamekeeper waited until he was out of the profession before he publicized this!! https://www.the-soc.org.uk/files/docs/about-us/publications/scottish-birds/sb-vol22-no01.pdf?fbclid=IwAR2J2MJF5r-i6m8ZQC-sGCj7Q0YSZ5loey9dn0IannvEeRvITQuG4CvM2Zc

    I also have to question how having dogs run through caper habitat will do these birds any good at all, I’ve seen a pack of hounds trying to corner mink and what they were really good for was scaring all the local wildlife from fish to grey wagtails. So fox ‘control’ – methods and result – may well be contributing to caper decline and the insistence of using deer fencing to restore forest rather than effective deer culling has hardly helped either – funny how the gamies think that predators the bird had co evolved and existed with for millenia are the problem not wire fencing that could almost have been used with the specific intent of killing low flying birds. The role that the huntin, fishin, shootin lot have had in hamstringing conservation efforts for the capercaillie need to be looked at (Balmoral refused to kill enough deer to allow forest to regenerate for caper, deer fencing and predator ‘control’ were used instead). Their delight in using the decline of the caper to try and rubbish the effectiveness of the conservation community should be turned against them, are they any more genuinely concerned about its survival than they are for the curlew?

  4. I absolutely knew before pressing the link that the senior cabinet member in favour of animal culling would be Fergus Ewing, He has become an establishment figure and does not act in the best interests of Scotland, He serves Fergus Ewing and monied landowners and argues for the live export of sentient creatures from the Isles of Scotland all the way to Africa and beyond. Ewing is there in cabinet because of his name but is a poor, poor imitation of his mother.

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