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Residents describe horror of hare coursing blight on their community

The blood-thirsty sport of hare coursing takes place across Tayside, it has been claimed.

LEPUS TIMIDUS

Residents of Emmock Farm, north of Dundee, who did not wish to be identified, described multiple instances of hare coursing, and the gruesome remains.

Gangs of criminals engaging in the cruel act have repeatedly been spotted in the area. One local said he thought the culprits had walked their dogs from Kirkton and other areas to attack hares and other wildlife.

He said: “We know it’s happening because we see them; I saw someone out with binoculars the other day looking for hares with his dog. We find the bodies too, absolutely mutilated, it’s horrible. They course mainly for hares but once they were depleted they started going after roe deer and other wildlife.”

Practitioners of the brutal and banned bloodsport threaten local people who confront them.

Another resident said: “We’re scared to speak to them in case they find out where we live. A local farmer was told that if he called the police there would be repurcussions, and he recently had a quadbike stolen, we don’t know that it’s connected though. The police say unless they catch someone in the act there’s not much they can do.”

The Emmock Farm sightings follow similar reports of coursing taking place around Longforgan at the beginning of the month. PC Mark Stewart issued a warning after signs were found that the sport had taken place.

A van containing three dogs was seen on farmland near Invergowrie and police are appealing for witnesses.

The shocking sport involves training whippets and other sighthounds by getting them to chase, mutilate and, ultimately, kill hares. Banned since 2002, the practice is considered one of the most serious wildlife crimes.

Nonetheless, it continues to be a problem in Perthshire and Angus.

Groups travel from all over the country to the area’s farmland to send their greyhound and lurcher-type dogs hunting for a kill. Bets are taken, and any hares caught are torn apart before those responsible disappear, with the whole practice often lasting no more than 10 minutes.

Police wildlife and environmental crime officer Alan Stewart said, “Our message to those who are determined to ignore the law and chase hares with dogs is that police officers will use all powers at their disposal to tackle this illegal practice.

“The very fact that they are out searching for hares to course is sufficient evidence to prosecute. They are likely to be arrested and can expect a court appearance.”

As of earlier this year, anyone who is detected hare coursing can face a fine of £10,000 and also six months’ imprisonment.

Anyone with information about hare coursing should contact police.

Article taken from: http://www.thecourier.co.uk/news/local/dundee/residents-describe-horror-of-hare-coursing-blight-on-their-community-1.885445

 

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Scotland says “No” to wild animal circuses

Scottish Government papers released today have confirmed that an overwhelming 98% of respondents to a public consultation on the issue supported a complete ban on the continued use of animals such as lions, tigers and elephants in travelling circuses.

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A total of 2,003 respondents (98%) to the consultation indicated that they thought the use of wild animals for performance in travelling circuses should be banned in Scotland; and 1,969 respondents (96.4%) indicated that they thought the use of wild animals for exhibition (without performing) in travelling circuses should be banned in Scotland.

OneKind and the Born Free Foundation have campaigned together for reform in Scotland and are standing by to support the Scottish Government in delivering a solution to this important animal welfare issue. Whilst there have been no wild animal circuses based in Scotland in living memory, circuses with wild animals have toured to Scotland in recent years. But in late 2014 Thomas Chipperfield, a big cat circus trainer, moved his animals from England to a farm near Fraserburgh, Aberdeenshire.

The move triggered an outcry from members of the public, animal welfare experts and parliamentarians alike and led to demands being made upon the Scottish Government to implement a ban as soon as possible. In 2012, the Westminster Government released a draft bill to ban the use of wild animals in circuses on ethical grounds; inviting Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to join together in creating UK-wide legislation. Since that time, no progress has been made on the implementation of the ban in England, to the disappointment of advocates working on the issue.

The inaction in Westminster signals an opportunity for Scotland to lead the way on this important issue by acting independently. Aberdeen Central MSP Kevin Stewart welcomed the results of the consultation: “The public have overwhelmingly shown that they are against the archaic practice of having wild animals perform in circuses and I hope that the Scottish Government takes cognisance of their views and will legislate for a ban as soon as possible. “We cannot afford for the rest of the UK to catch-up and if our Scottish Government does not introduce legislation in the near future then I will certainly consider introducing a Members’ Bill to ban this barbaric practice once and for all.”

Will Travers, President of the Born Free Foundation said: “Today’s message from the Scottish public could not be clearer: people don’t want to see wild animals in circuses in this country any longer. The Scottish Government now has a real chance to demonstrate that it is a progressive force for animal welfare. With inaction in Westminster meaning that the potential UK-wide ban is currently on hold, Scotland is in a great position to lead the way and implement the first wild animal circus ban in the British Isles”. Meanwhile, Aberdeenshire-based Modo, a youth circus that celebrates human achievement and creativity, has expressed concern about the negative perceptions of circuses fostered by the continued use of wild animals. Director Martin Danziger said:

“Important as it is to stop wild animal use for moral reasons, its very existence also makes our work harder – we have to work harder to communicate the difference between two things that call themselves circuses, and to work to counter negative perceptions.” OneKind has always warned that not banning these entertainments would simply leave the door open for them to set up here at any time. That is what happened with the big cats overwintering in Aberdeenshire and their owner attempting to use them in public shows. A simple ban would reflect modern attitudes to animals and the overwhelming will of the Scottish public.

The full analysis can be seen at http://www.gov.scot/Publications/2015/06/2818

Article taken from: http://www.onekind.org/take_action/blog_article/scotland_says_no_to_wild_animal_circuses

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Foxhunting ban: MPs are not keen to propose a law for repeal

Article by James Kirkup, The Telegraph:

“We will protect hunting, shooting and fishing, for all the benefits to individuals, the environment and the rural economy that they bring. A Conservative government will give Parliament the opportunity to repeal the Hunting Act with a free vote, with a government bill in government time.”

So said the Conservative manifesto at the general election.

Repealing the ban would correct what critics see as one of the great wrongs of the last Labour government. Unfortunately for the Conservative leadership, that view is not uniform across the party: a significant number of Tories, including a fair few newly-elected in 2015, are quite happy to let the ban stand. (Tracey Crouch, a minister who supports, the ban, has said she expected 30 to 40 Tories to either abstain or vote against repeal, enough to put the outcome of any vote in doubt.)

A Government bill on repeal, therefore, raised the possibility of an awkward parliamentary split on the issue.

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So Government people hatched a cunning plan to avoid ministers taking sides on the ban. Instead of a Government bill, formally proposed by ministers, they would instead help a backbench MP bring a repeal proposal before the Commons, whereupon MPs could have their free vote and ministers could vote however they chose.

This wheeze was explained by Christopher Hope last month. He reported that after the ballot for parliamentary time for private members’ bills, ministers hoped that a Tory MP with a high place in the draw (and thus, a good chance of getting parliamentary time to have a bill debated) would propose a repeal of the hunting ban.

The plan outraged pro-hunting MPs, who saw it as a betrayal of the manifesto commitment, but it would probably have served to keep the peace on an issue that has the capacity to generate huge excitement and consume much political capital. And there is a good precedent for the Government using the private bill system in this way: it was how the EU referendum bill made its first appearance under the Coalition.
Sadly for ministers, however, the clever plan has hit a snag. Of the 20 MPs who drew top places in the private members’ bill ballot, none has opted to bring forward a bill repealing the hunting ban.

Since no other private bill has any realistic chance of becoming law, the Government is back to square one on repeal, trying to work out how to deliver a manifesto promise that few of those who wrote it ever expected to have to implement, and which may well open up a noisy and painful split in the party.

Article taken from: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/foxhunting/11696308/Foxhunting-ban-MPs-are-not-keen-to-propose-a-law-for-repeal.html

 

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Holyrood backs airgun licence move

In a historical move towards stamping out cruelty to animals in Scotland, MSPs have passed legislation requiring all airgun owners in Scotland to hold a licence. The Scottish government pledged to introduce the licensing scheme following the death of Glasgow toddler Andrew Morton, who was shot dead by an airgun in 2005.

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The Air Weapons and Licensing (Scotland) Bill was passed by 92 votes to 17. Backed by major animal welfare organisations such as the League Against Cruel Sports, this marks a landmard achievement in fighting wildlife crime across the country.

 

Justice Secretary Michael Matheson said: “We have a long standing commitment to reducing gun crime, and the licensing of air weapons has been central to that aim. It featured in our manifesto in 2007 and 2011, and the powers to regulate on air weapons were finally devolved to this Parliament in the Scotland Act of 2012.

“We have acted on this new power, consulting widely with experts and the public. Our proposals have not always been universally welcomed but we believe they strike the right balance between respecting the interests of those people who shoot legitimately for work, sport, pest control or leisure, and the need to ensure that those who misuse guns do not have access to them.”

Huge thanks to all who emailed, called or wrote to your MSPs. We did it!!!

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Related posts: 

https://catdraggedin.co.uk/2014/06/22/take-action-legislate-air-gun-ownership-in-scotland/

https://catdraggedin.co.uk/?s=air+gun