The Scottish Countryside Alliance welcomes the cabinet secretary’s statement to invite key stakeholders to work together to develop a code of practice for the use of dogs in fox control and explore the potential for a new monitoring scheme.
Director Scotland James Stewart said: We welcome the ministers endorsement of Lord Bonomy’s findings, particularly that the searching and flushing by two dogs would not be as effective as that done by a full pack of hounds, but also that imposing such a restriction could seriously compromise effective pest control in the country.
Those using dogs to flush foxes and other wild mammals to guns under the law have always been open and transparent and therefore have nothing to fear. They have been subject to hundreds of hours of covert monitoring and filming, none of which has produced evidence of law breaking. We welcome the opportunity to work with the Scottish Government, Police Scotland and stakeholders on a Code of Practice to strengthen the scrutiny and accountability of practitioners in the management of wild mammals.
We will look at the consultation and respond in detail but remain of the view that, despite any technical shortcomings in the original drafting, the existing law is capable of being enforced by Police Scotland and the courts, as can be seen from the fact that it has been used successfully used on many occasions.
The appointment of Lord Bonomy to undertake the review was announced on 26 December 2015. The remit of the review was to ascertain whether the 2002 Act was providing a sufficient level of protection for wild mammals, while at the same time allowing for their effective and humane control where necessary.
Almost 300 submissions were received following a call between 1 February and 31 March 2016. Those for which consent was received were published on 24 October.