Scotland’s hunting ban will finally be enforced

Scotland’s anti-hunting activists are celebrating as the government’s hunting ban will finally be enforced from 3 October.

The Hunting With Dogs (Scotland) Bill was passed in January 2023, and it became an Act on 7 March 2023. But despite this, saboteurs have been catching hunters pursuing foxes red-handed. This is because until now, NatureScot has been working on a licensing scheme to “allow farmers and other land managers to use more than two dogs, in limited circumstances, for appropriate and humane wildlife control.”

Great news

But Scotland’s hunt saboteurs can finally celebrate. Glasgow Hunt Saboteurs announced on Facebook:

“Earlier this week, another break-neck turn and actually [hunts] have until Tuesday. Tuesday 3rd October. It’s done, It’s finally, finally done.
The new Act is unworkable for Scottish fox hunts, we know and they know it, having already seen the L&R Foxhounds call time on their 252 year reign of terror, and the Fife Foxhounds switch to Drag Hunting.”
Indeed, the Lanarkshire and Renfrewshire Foxhounds announced its closure just six weeks after Scotland changed its hunting laws, with sabs calling the announcement a “seismic victory”.

Drag hunting

Glasgow Sabs continued:

“it was surreal but not surprising to see the Berwickshire Hunt this morning, trying their hand at drag hunting, especially since they’ve spent the past three weeks relentlessly hunting fox cubs. Today, one rider commented how “it was time to face reality” and accept that hunting in Scotland is finished.”

Drag hunting is different from trail hunting. Whereas so-called ‘trail hunts’ claim to be following a trail as opposed to live mammals, drag hunts actually do follow a pre-laid artificial scent around a designated course. The person drags a material soaked in aniseed or another powerful substance which the dogs then follow. Whilst the same dogs are used it is a lot rarer that wildlife will be accidentally chased and killed as the dogs are following a pre-laid trail.

An end to hunting in Scotland

When the hunting ban was passed earlier this year, making it illegal to flush out a wild animal with more than two dogs, we were all ecstatic, as we believed it would effectively ending hunting with hounds as we know it. And now we can finally envision an imminent end to hunting in the country. Of course, time will tell whether the handful of hunts left will try to get around the Act, or whether they will fold for good. All eyes will be on police forces in Scotland, and whether they actually enforce the hunting ban.

In the meantime, hunt saboteurs are the eyes the ground, monitoring whether hunts are actually drag hunting, or whether they are continuing to break the law.


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