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Scotland approves tougher law on hunting with dogs

The Scottish Parliament has passed new legislation that limits hunts involving packs of dogs.

Under the new Hunting with Dogs Bill, it remains an offence to chase and or kill a wild mammal using a dog, but the wording of the 2002 act is updated to make the law easier to understand and enforce.

The new bill will reduce the number of dogs which can be used to stalk or flush out animals from cover to just two, instead of a full pack, unless a licence has been granted. It will also reduce the number of dogs which can be used below ground to just one.

In addition, the rules also prohibit trail hunting, where dogs follow an animal-based scent.

Environment Minister Mairi McAllan, who piloted the new bill through parliament, told BBC Scotland: “The chasing and killing of a wild mammal with a dog, for sport, or otherwise, has no place in modern Scotland. It’s been illegal for 20 years, but deficiencies in the previous legislation have led to concerns that it persists.

“This bill is about closing those loopholes, preventing others from opening and finally ending illegal hunting with dogs in Scotland.”

However, farmers, land managers and conservation groups have warned there are some terrains, on hills and in forests, where it would be impossible to hunt with only two dogs. There are also concerns about how the licence will work.

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