Foxhunting has been officially banned in Scotland following a six-hour debate by Members of Scottish Parliament

Members of the Scottish Parliament have voted overwhelmingly to ban foxhunting north of the border.

Once the law comes into force, anyone caught hunting with dogs now faces a six-month prison sentence or a fine of up to £5,000.

A stormy six-hour debate resulted in 83 votes in favour of the ban, 36 against with just five abstentions.

However, controversy is expected to surround the legislation whose credibility has already been called in to question by some Conservative MSPs who have suggested that the Bill has not outlawed all forms of mounted hunts.

Legal action against the Scottish Parliament is also expected to begin soon focussing on the decision to throw out three amendments calling for compensation for those workers whose livelihoods will be directly affected by the ban.

The Countryside Alliance’s Campaign for Hunting chairman Sam Butler said: “This attempted infringement of human freedoms will be challenged in the Scottish courts as incompatible with the European Convention of Human Rights now enshrined in Scottish law”.

The CA’s chief executive Richard Burge added: “Competent politicians should know better than to try to frame legislation that merely seeks to impose their own personal opinion on the community – and especially on cultural minorities.

“That is why this bill was destined from the first to be an unworkable mess – and the lesson should not be lost on politicians beyond Scotland.”

Don’t miss this week’s Horse & Hound (21 February 2002) for an indepth report on the new legislation, or click here to subscribe.

  • Click here to read about the number of jobs which could be affected by a ban on hunting.
  • Click here to read Peter Daresbury’s views on the way forward for hunting.