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Fox Hunting ( Fox Hunting ( Fox Hunting ( Fox Hunting ( Fox Hunting ( - The biggest independent support hunting site in the UK. Site last updated: Wednesday 6th May 2009
Welcome to Support Fox Hunting, now incorporating Support Game Shooting.

Use the links above to find information about hunting &shooting, the latest news, as well as background and kids information.

Support Hunting Association

The Support Hunting Association is one of the UK's most prominent pro-hunting organisations, now incorporating issues related to Game Shooting, Fox Hunting and Angling.
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Facts & Figures - On hunting in general
Newspaper Articles - Hunting news from the press
Political Hunting Views - Political party & MPs views
Hunting Bill - The latest information
The Scottish ban - A full guide to the ban.

News Centre - Visit our Brand New News Centre
Latest Hunting News - All the latest hunting news
View from the Press - Hunting news from the press

Have you seen these pages?
Police View of a hunting ban - Two chief constables voice their concern on a ban on hunting.
Timelines -On the current Hunting Bill, the attempts to ban hunting, and on the ban in Scotland.
Hunting vs. Human Rights - Parliament has advised that the Hunting Bill is incompatible with the Human Rights Act.


The ban has guaranteed that the time and money invested by the League Against Cruel Sports and the RSPCA has increased animal suffering. We told them this would happen. This rise in suffering since the ban is the cost of ignoring that warning!
Daily Telegraph
3 May 2005.

Numerous police officers accompanied the more than 250 hunts which took place yesterday, the first day that the sport became illegal. Despite the friendly exchanges between officers and huntsmen and women, the presence of the police posed a question: what public good were they trying to uphold?
Daily Telegraph
20 February 2005.
The Scottish Ban - 16 November 2003

On Wednesday 13th February 2002, MSPs voted by 83 to 36 with five abstentions to pass the Protection of Wild Mammals (Scotland) Bill, which makes it illegal to hunt a wild mammal with a dog.

Labour MSP Mike Watson (also Lord Watson). BBC News.
Labour MSP Mike Watson who introduced the bill
In September 1999, Labour backbencher Mike Watson, MSP for Glasgow Cathcart, introduced a private member's bill - The Protection of Wild Mammals (Scotland) Bill.

It took until February 2002 for MSPs to finally vote on the bill, which was passed by 86 MSPs, with 36 against and five abstentions. On 1st August 2002, nearly three years after the bill was announced it became law.

Struggle to pass the bill

The passing of the bill wasn't smooth, there was a legal hurdle when on 26th October 2001 pro-hunting MSPs launched a legal bid to stop the bill becoming law. Led by Conservative MSP Ben Wallace, they applied to the Court of Session in Edinburgh for a judicial review over what they said was the unfair help the Scottish Executive gave Labour MSP Mike Watson to push through his members bill, however this was rejected and the bill proceeded.

In the final debate, which lasted over 6 hour, over 107 amendments were tabled.

During the debate, in the Scottish Borders, where half of Scotland's 10 mounted hunts are based, Kelso racecourse was the venue for demonstrations where up to 1,000 people, 150 horses and hound packs gathered.

The Scotsman reported, "Later, sources close to Lord Watson claimed that he wished he had not agreed to bring forward the bill because of the enormous controversy which followed its every step. He has always denied this was true."

Ban Passed

As pro-hunt supporters in England succeeded with their powerful lobbying in staving off a Westminster bill, the Scottish legislation made it on to the statute book - despite intensive lobbying by the Scottish Countryside Alliance.

Trevor Adams, the master of the Buccleuch Hunt, pictured in 2001. Scotsman (click for larger photo).
Trevor Adams, the master of the Buccleuch Hunt, pictured in 2001
Allan Murray, director of the Scottish Countryside Alliance, vowed to take the battle to retain hunting to the courts.

He said: "Today rural Scotland has been betrayed by the Scottish Parliament.

"Our politicians have made it clear that the voice of rural people, in their view, counts for nothing."

The Act makes it illegal to:
Hunt (which is classified as "searching or coursing") a wild mammal with a dog.
Allow a hunt to be conducted on land which you own or occupy; and
Allow a dog you own or are responsible for, to hunt.

It remains legal however, to use a dog (under control) to stalk a wild mammal or to flush it from cover for certain reasons, once the mammal emerges it must be shot or killed with a bird of prey.

Legal challenges

Scottish Hunting Ban Timeline
July 1999
Mike Watson a Labour MSP announces his intention to bring in the Protection of Wild Mammals (Scotland) bill.
21st September 2003
The bill is formally tabled.
November 1999
Macaulay Land Use Research Institute carries out a study of the impact on the rural economy of a ban on hunting with dogs.
26 November 1999
Led by Conservative MSP Ben Wallace, pro-hunters attempt to get an interim verdict to stop the bill, but fail.
26 June 2000
The report into hunting is published: 300 full-time jobs could be lost as a result of a ban.
11 July 2001
Labour MSPs on the rural development committee decide not to endorse the bill, by 6 to 3.
19 September 2001
Holyrood vote the bill passed the stage one hurdle by 84 votes to 34.
13 November 2001
A number of amendments are passed including one to allow dogs to be used to flush out foxes for shooting. 13 February 2003
MSPs vote 83 to 36 to pass the bill.
2 July 2003
The first legal challenge to the bill is launched, but fails 29 days later.
6 June 2003
The legal challenge is resumed and has its final day on 31 October.
29 May 2004
The legal challenge fails. Judges rule that MSPs had been entitled to decide the practice was cruel, and thus ban it.

Details from BBC News & Scotsman - see foot of page.
On 2nd July 2002 a legal challenge was launched against the ban, lead by Allan Murray, the director of the Scottish Countryside Alliance, they took the bill to the Court of Session in Edinburgh, stating that the bill breached the European Convention on Human Rights. On 31st July 2002 the judge, Lord Nimmo Smith, rejected their arguments and the legislation was brought into force.

Allan Murray said "We're very disappointed but not surprised about the decision but we are determined to fight it all the way."
He vowed to fight the decision "in every court of the land" to protect individual rights over "political dogma".

The legal challenge was resumed on 6th June this year, the case has been taken before three appeal judges who are being asked to rule that Lord Nimmo Smith reached the wrong decision, and to wipe the act from the statute book.

The Scotsman: "The nine pro-hunt challengers named in the petition to the court include Trevor Adams, a manager with the Buccleuch Hunt, the Countryside Alliance, and the Masters of Foxhounds Association. They believe the act is an oppressive interference with their rights to private life and property, as enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights, and that it was not competent for the Parliament to have passed it.

In the appeal, the nine say that if a convention right is to be lost, it has to be in response to a pressing social need and in the interests of the community.

Also, Lord Nimmo Smith seemed to have held that hunting with dogs was significantly less efficient than other methods such as shooting, which were not outlawed, and that it caused more suffering to foxes.

" There was no material before the Scottish Parliament or Lord Nimmo Smith capable of supporting this conclusion," it is claimed.

In opening submissions to the court, David Johnston, counsel for the nine, said: "There are difficulties in understanding exactly which activities are prohibited by the act and which are not ... this legislation is very poorly drafted." "

The appeal had its final day in the inner Court of Session on Friday 31st October. The outcome is expected soon.

A separate challenge brought by Brian Friend and Jeremy Whaley, both members of the Union of Country Sports Workers, who claimed that the ban infringed their human rights, was rejected on 20 June 2003. At the Court of Session in Edinburgh, Mr Friend said it violated the 1998 Human Rights Act and the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights. He called on Lord Brodie to allow a second hearing of a judicial review into the ban. After learning of the judgment, Mr Friend, of Membury, Devon, said he was "furious" and vowed to fight the decision.

For comments on the Scottish ban, see our Comments, Quotes & Letters page.

Significant sections of this text are from the Scotsman website, some details are also from BBC News - use the links below for the relevant pages.

Related links
Her Majesty's Stationery Office website, External Link
'Hunting ban challenge is rejected'
BBC News | 28th May 2004
"Fox hunting: The Scottish bill"
BBC News | 13 February 2002
"Legal hurdle to hunting ban bill"
BBC News | 26 October 2001
"Timeline: Scotland's fox hunting bill"
BBC News | 13 February 2002
'Hunters lose latest appeal over ban on foxhunting'
The Scotsman | 29th May 2004
"Ban that polarised a nation"
The Scotsman | 29 April 2003
"Court overturns hunting ban fight"
The Scotsman | 21 June 2003
"Legal challenge to fox-hunt ban"
The Scotsman | 6 June 2003


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