A bill to ban hunting with dogs in Scotland has won the majority support of MSPs

Foxhunting could be banned in Scotland after the majority of MSPs voted to allow the Protection of Wild Mammals (Scotland) Bill to proceed to its next legislative stage.

Lord Watson, who has sponsored the bill, said the aim was to ban mounted foxhunting, stop hare coursing and ban fox-baiting where dogs were used to bait and fight foxes underground.

In an unprecedented move, the backing of the bill came despite advice from the Parliaments own Rural Development Committee, who said that it was flawed and would not meet its avowed aim of ending cruelty to wild animals.

Simon Hart of the Campaign for Hunting said: “Scottish politicians are clearly more concerned with dictating how people should live their lives rather than improving animal welfare.

“The Countryside Alliance has underlined its rigorousopposition to this bill. We will ensure that the Scottish Parliament returns to its task of addressing the real problems of Scotland and preserving a liberal, tolerant and diverse society.”

Eighty-four members voted for Lord Watson’s Bill and 34 voted against. There was one abstention.