Wednesday, 9 January 2019

SGA WILL CHALLENGE FOX HUNTING PROPOSALS

The results of one evening of fox predation at a woodland edge.
Earlier today (9th Jan) Scottish Government announced proposals to alter fox hunting legislation in Scotland.
Of principal interest to SGA members who rely on foot packs as the only effective and humane way to control foxes in dense forestry blocks, Scottish Government appear to have departed from Lord Bonomy's views in their commissioned Review (see below) and have stated that they will limit the number of hounds which can be used to flush foxes to 2.
Minister Mairi Gougeon said that a licensing scheme was being considered which could permit more hounds to be used for legitimate pest control.
The SGA is to seek discussions with other countryside groups who require packs of trained dogs for legitimate fox control in order to ensure a robust challenge to any proposals which might limit the ability for foot packs to operate effectively in Scotland, something which will have serious consequences for threatened wildlife and valuable farm stock.
SGA Chairman Alex Hogg said:"We will be seeking talks with farmers tomorrow. If any proposed licensing system makes it onerous for fox control with pack operations in dense woodland, vital foot packs for legitimate pest control will just give up.
"Scotland has one of the highest fox densities in Europe. We say, on one hand, we want to save the Curlew, then do this. Maybe this shows where priorities lie. It is another nail for important rural industries and rare ground-nesting wildlife that Scotland has a global responsibility to protect."Reducing the ability to control foxes in forestry will be a disaster for wildlife and farm stock. Two hounds will simply not work. It’s a totally ineffective tool. We are already seeing Forestry Commission denying people access to woods for legitimate fox control because it has become too political. This will pave the way for a complete lock-down and is poorly thought through."I think there is a growing awakening amongst rural workers that they are becoming political bargaining chips and I think we can expect a very strong reaction to this."

Lord Bonomy stated in his Review of fox hunting legislation, commissioned by Scottish Government, that using two dogs could 'seriously compromise effective pest control'.