20 September 2001
Scotland votes to ban hunting

By FWi staff

HUNTING with hounds could be banned next year in Scotland following a vote in the Scottish Parliament, report three of Britains national newspapers.

Labour MSP Mike Watsons Bill to protect wild mammals won the support of 84 members. There were 32 votes against with one abstention.

The vote “cut across traditional party allegiances,” says the Financial Times.

Peter Hastie of the Scottish Campaign against Hunting with Dogs hopes the ban will be extended to shooting and angling, reports the Daily Telegraph.

“We as a nation will not tolerate blood sports anymore … Scotland has spoken,” the newspaper quotes him as saying.

The paper also quotes Allan Murray, director of the Scottish Countryside Alliance, who fears the decision may cause confrontation in the countryside.

“There will be a huge lobbying exercise carried out on MSPs … So many were making fundamental mistakes in their speeches, one had to ask whether they had really read the Bill,” he said.

Pro-hunt and countryside campaigners say they will continue to fight the Bill “tooth and nail”, reports The Times.

Campaigners also raised prospects of a legal challenge under the European Convention on Human Rights if the Bill were to become law, it reports.

“Backing for the Bill came despite advice from the Parliaments Rural Development Committee that it was flawed and would not meet its aim of ending cruelty to wild animals,” says the paper.