The technical amendments (called Statutory Instruments) we are proposing will not lift the ban on hunting with dogs – secondary legislation cannot be used to defeat the purpose of the original Act.
In fact, the Hunting Act will remain in place and will continue to prohibit the pursuit and killing of a wild animals by dogs (my opinion on this can be found on my blog http://
stevedoubleforstaustellandnewq uay.blogspot.co.uk/2015/05/ fox-hunting.html) These changes amend the exemptions that Members on all sides of the House agreed during the passage of the Act were necessary for the purposes of “pest control”.
The amendments we are seeking to make are:
· Enable farmers and gamekeepers to make a judgement, based on the terrain and other circumstances, as to whether it is appropriate to use more than two dogs to flush out foxes and other wild mammals. This is particularly important in upland areas where the use of two dogs across large and difficult areas of ground, often covered by woodland, is not regarded as effective or practical. There is no limit on the number of dogs that can be used in Scotland.
· Amend the requirement to produce evidence of land ownership or landowner consent in cases where a dog is used below ground. In Scotland there is no such requirement. This amendment will mean that the evidence does not need to be carried by the person carrying out the activity but can be presented at a police station within seven days. This is in line with the timeframe for presenting a driving licence under road traffic law.
· Extend the scope of the “rescue” exemption to include “diseased” animals. This is a logical extension of the provision that enables hunting to be undertaken to relieve a wild mammal of suffering when it is injured.
I support these changes and will be voting for them.