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Scottish Natural Heritage review fails to consider a ban on snaring

The League Against Cruel Sports Scotland and OneKind are urging the Scottish Government to consider and consult on a ban on snares following a review of snaring in Scotland.

The findings of the review, commissioned by the Scottish Government and carried out by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH), were published today (Tuesday). The charities have branded the findings “a wasted opportunity”, and have criticised the limited scope of the review. In 2010, during the passage of the Wildlife and Natural Environment (Scotland) Act, MSPs voted for a regulatory regime for snare use in Scotland rather than an outright ban, but made provisions for a review to be carried out by December 2016.

SNH was tasked with examining the impact of the regulations and has published its findings. The report has found that snaring related incidents have reduced and made a number of recommendations for further small changes to the way which snares are regulated.

The limited remit of the review meant consideration of a ban on snaring was not included in the research, which both the League Scotland and OneKind say was a flaw from the offset. Both charities want to see snaring banned in Scotland on animal welfare and ethical grounds.

Robbie Marsland, Director of the League Against Cruel Sports, Scotland said: “Since the snaring regulations were introduced over five years ago animals have continued to endure needless suffering as a result of cruel and indiscriminate traps. This review was never going to resolve the problem, it was, sadly, a wasted opportunity.  Regulations are not a workable solution for something as crude and barbaric as a snare. In short, you can’t regulate cruelty.

“We have long argued that a ban is the only way to eradicate the problems associated with snaring. We will now step up our campaign to convince the Scottish Government to take the common sense approach and ban the manufacture, sale, possession and use of all snares once and for all.”

The League Scotland and OneKind have been critical of SNH’s approach to animal welfare which both charities say has been overlooked in the review process.

Harry Huyton, Director of OneKind added: “The review was an opportunity to assess whether the new snaring regulations had ended the suffering and indiscriminate capture caused by snares.  Yet it was destined to fail from day one due to a bizarre and inadequate remit which specifically excluded considering whether snares have a place at all in a modern Scotland. This, in spite of the fact that they are banned throughout most of Europe. By focusing on illegal snaring and ignoring the bigger question – whether the use of snares is justified in the first place, given the suffering they cause – this review fails to advance the debate.

“We are hugely disappointed that SNH has sought welfare advice on the use of snares from pro-snaring organisations such as the Scottish Gamekeepers Association and the British Association for Shooting and Conservation rather than independent expert evidence to assess whether the aspirations of the Scottish Parliament are being met. We remain convinced that the legislation has not been sufficient to prevent severe animal suffering and will continue to campaign for a complete ban.”

The League Against Cruel Sports Scotland and OneKind have worked together for almost a decade to expose the cruelty of snare use in Scotland developing considerable knowledge and expertise regarding the welfare of wild animals and impact of these primitive, indiscriminate traps over this time.

Mark Ruskell MSP, Environment spokesperson for the Scottish Greens, said:

“This review does nothing other than maintain outdated and inhumane traditions. We need to be moving from a regulatory regime to an outright ban in the interests of animal welfare.

“Today’s response from Scottish Ministers appears to be yet another decision where they have listening more to organisations that want to persecute animals than those who have their welfare at heart.”

Alison Johnstone MSP, vice-convener of Holyrood’s cross-party group on animal welfare, said:

“Snaring causes indiscriminate killing and is hard to monitor. Banning it outright would mean no need for this flawed and barbaric practice. Scottish Ministers must rethink their response.”

Scottish Labour’s spokesperson for Animal Welfare and Environment Claudia Beamish MSP said:

“Scottish Labour called for a consultation on an outright ban on snaring in our Manifesto, because we believe you cannot regulate cruelty to animals.

“The SNP Government’s review was flawed from the start. SNP ministers should have been consulting on an outright ban, not tinkering at the edges on what sort of snares can and can’t be used and how to regulate use. That completely misses the point.”

Article taken from: https://www.league.org.uk/news/scottish-natural-heritage-review-fails-to-consider-a-ban-on-snaring

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Campaigners claim fox killed by dogs

A dead fox found on a west of Scotland estate was killed by dogs, animal welfare charities have claimed.

OneKind and the League Against Cruel Sports claimed it was attacked by hounds from the Lanarkshire and Renfrewshire Hunt.

Vets who examined the carcass said its injuries were consistent with a dog attack, although it had also been shot.

Pro-hunting group the Countryside Alliance said the fox had been legally shot after being flushed out by dogs.

Under the Protection of Wild Mammals (Scotland) Act 2002 dogs can be used to flush out an animal but they are not allowed to kill it.

Campaigners, however, claim foxes are regularly killed by hounds.

A review, led by senior judge Lord Bonomy, into how the law is working is due to be published shortly.

‘Unnecessary suffering’

The charities said the fox was retrieved by hunt saboteurs on 5 November at Harelaw, near Bridge of Weirand, and taken to Hesselhead Wildlife Hospital.

They then arranged for an examination to be carried out by SAC Consulting Veterinary Services.

The report concluded: “Death is likely to be due to a combination of respiratory failure, blood loss and shock and would not have been instant. This will have caused significant unnecessary suffering to the fox.”

The animal had also been shot – but the report said the wound was not fatal.

“One metallic fragment recovered from the right front leg. This will not have killed the animal but the associated haemorrhage is consistent with the fox being shot while still alive,” the report said.

OneKind Director Harry Huyton said: “Despite a law which supposedly prevents foxes from suffering negative welfare impacts from hunting with hounds, this unprecedented post-mortem of a hunted fox makes it clear that suffering continues.

“The level of trauma experienced by the fox prior to its death and the manner in which it died is completely unacceptable and debunks the myth that foxes killed by packs of hounds are dispatched with a ‘quick nip to the back of the neck’.”

League Scotland Director Robbie Marsland added: “We look forward to the Scottish government strengthening the law to make sure that no other foxes are killed in this dreadful and repugnant way.”

foxA review of the law on fox hunting in Scotland is due to be published on Monday

The Countryside Alliance said the Lanarkshire and Renfrewshire Foxhounds operated under a “strict protocol” in accordance with the law.

A spokesperson said: “In compliance with the law the fox in question had been shot on being flushed from cover by the hounds.

“The Lanarkshire and Renfrewshire Foxhounds have an open and ongoing relationship with Police Scotland, one that includes the notification of their activities in advance of hunting days and a facility for direct contact with Police Scotland throughout.

“It is clear that the Lanarkshire & Renfrewshire were acting both legally and responsibly in the control of foxes.

“Wild and unsubstantiated claims from animal rights organisations about suffering are both predictable and ridiculous.”

The Scottish government said Lord Bonomy’s review of the law on foxhunting would be published shortly.

A spokeswoman said: “We’re grateful to those who made a submission to the Rt Hon Lord Bonomy’s review.

“Scottish ministers will carefully consider his report and, as previously committed, will consult on any consequent proposals for change to the current arrangements.”

Article taken from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-glasgow-west-38037897

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Take action: Four months left to save the National Wildlife Crime Unit

World Animal Protection are asking people to urgently step up and take action for wildlife in the UK.

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As highlighted on What the Cat Dragged In (via IFAW) last month, the National Wildlife Crime Unit (NWCU) is at risk. Despite it being one of the world’s leading wildlife crime units, its funding is due to run out in March.

World Animal Protection is now asking people to email their MP and urge them to save the NWCU. We need them to demand that the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Home Office continue to fund this vital unit.

Wildlife crime is abundant across the UK with animals being harmed and persecuted. Animals are hunted, smuggled, butchered for their body parts or kept alive in order to be sold on. The NWCU is absolutely critical in the fight against wildlife criminals. Without them, wild animals will be at a much greater risk of suffering cruelty.

The NWCU is a world-leading police unit dedicated to supporting wildlife crime investigations and fundamental to providing and analysing national wildlife crime intelligence across the UK. Without them, a huge number of wildlife crime cases would not be successfully investigated or prosecuted. Right now, the NWCU’s future is in doubt as their funding comes to an end in March 2016. In 2014 they were granted 2 years funding; but previous to that they had to fight to stay open every single year. This endless cycle of uncertainty has been a huge drain on their resources.

Chief Inspector Martin Sims, Head of the NWCU, has recently commented that “if we don’t secure funding, the unit will fold”. Defra and the Home Office are currently considering the future of the NWCU and will decide soon if they will be given long term funding. We have to make sure this happens. World Animal Protection is calling on the UK Government to fully-fund this vital unit for at least 5 years. This is the same amount of time that Governments have in their terms, and would give the NWCU the stability and vote of confidence that they so urgently need.

Please call on your MP today and help protect the NWCU and UK wildlife now!

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Police investigate fox hunt regarding the killing of a fox by pack of hounds

Police are investigating a hunt following video evidence of hounds chasing and killing a fox.

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This footage of Atherstone Hunt near Grendon, Warwickshire, was taken by local animal rights activists West Midlands Hunt Saboteurs.

Atherstone Hunt state it had been ‘hunting within the law’ when the injured fox came across their path and the hounds instinctively chased down the prey and killed it.

The video shows one of the hounds appearing to catch up with the fox and tackle it the ground before the rest of the pack jump on it.

After its death, the masters, dressed in traditional red coats and black riding hats, can be seen dismounting near the fox pulling its limp body away from the hounds.

The fox was slung over the back of a horse before the group rode away with the dogs in tow.

A spokesman for West Midlands Hunt Saboteurs (Sabs) said: ‘The Atherstone Hunt killed a fox. Sabs saw the fox being chased closely by hounds, it stopped and looked to its left and then to its right and saw there was no escape.

‘There were hounds either side of it, they caught it, dragged it to the floor and killed it. The rest of the pack were trying to get at it.

‘I have no doubt the hunt will say it is an accident, but it can’t be an accident if it’s happening every week. They are blatantly hunting.’

Since 2005, it has been illegal to hunt foxes with dogs. The maximum penalty is a £5,000 fine while police can also confiscate and destroy equipment and dogs used in hunting.

Individuals who refuse to comply with confiscation orders or fines issued could face further punishment, including a prison sentence.

A statement from Atherstone Hunt said: ‘The Atherstone Hunt were out on Saturday, November 14 hunting within the law hunting trails and hound exercising.

‘Unfortunately whilst riding across an open field between trails, what we strongly suspect was an injured fox appeared in front of the Hunt within yards of the hounds who very quickly dispatched it.

‘The incident was immediately reported to Warwickshire Police.’

 

A Warwickshire Police spokesman said: ‘In response to posts regarding the Atherstone Hunt we can confirm that, as a result of allegations made at the scene, we are collating and reviewing evidence and will positively deal with any offences identified.’

Article taken from: http://metro.co.uk/2015/11/16/police-investigate-fox-hunt-regarding-the-killing-of-a-fox-by-pack-of-hounds-5506147/

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Fox hunting ban is worthless blasts charity

The fox-hunting ban isn’t worth the paper it is written on according to a Scottish animal welfare charity.

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With the beginning of November marking the start of the hunting season, OneKind is calling on the Scottish Government to strengthen the law which bans fox hunting in Scotland.

The charity claims despite the Protection of Wild Mammals (Scotland) Act 2002 being in its 13th year there has been no convictions for those ignoring the ban as loopholes are still being exploited.

Very little has changed over the years and hunts are continuing to hunt as they did before the legislation was implemented according to OneKind director Harry Huyton.

“Fox hunting is apparently banned in Scotland, yet from this weekend hunts will be going out, seeking and killing foxes,” Huyton said.

“In all this time, very little has changed as a result of loopholes in the original legislation that in effect allow this cruel and outdated practice to continue.

“The Scottish Government has committed to reviewing the legislation and OneKind would like to see this carried out as an urgent priority with outcomes that finally make the ban worth the paper it’s written on.”

Before the hunting ban was passed in 2002 there were 10 operational mounted fox hunts in Scotland.

OneKind says there are still 10 today and there have been no successful prosecutions of mounted hunts under the act, whereas in England and Wales there have been a series of prosecutions under what it describes as the more robust Hunting Act.

The latest Scottish Government report into wildlife crime shows that only five cases associated with mounted fox hunt activities have been reported to the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service since 2003, and none of these resulted in a conviction.

Huyton added: “The time has come for a speedy and determined review of the legislation to finally do what the law was intended for: banning fox hunting.”

Article taken from:  http://thirdforcenews.org.uk/tfn-news/fox-hunting-ban-is-worthless-blasts-charity?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Weekly+Third+Force+News+-+environment-and-development&utm_content=Weekly+Third+Force+News+-+environment-and-development+CID_e876362ab0d22ad07c03444e280ec172&utm_source=Email+marketing+software&utm_term=Fox+hunting+ban+is+worthless+blasts+charity

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Take Action: End fox hunting in Scotland for good

Appeal from animal charity OneKind:

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Fox hunting was meant to have been banned in Scotland back in 2002.

Securing the ban on hunting with dogs was one of our proudest moments. It was a landmark victory for the animal welfare movement, and the vast majority of the public, who agreed that chasing a wild animal with a pack of hounds to the point of exhaustion and death should not be acceptable under law. The Protection of Wild Mammals (Scotland) Act 2002, as it is known, has helped counter some forms of hunting with dogs, but thirteen years later, it’s become clear that loopholes in the law allow mounted fox hunts to carry on hunting much the same as they did before.

*** Take action – email the Scottish Government ***

The law allows for packs of hounds to be used for stalking and flushing foxes from cover with the intention they will then be shot. As a result of this loophole, fox hunts in Scotland are able to continue chasing foxes, and there have been no successful prosecutions of hunts since the legislation was introduced. The League Against Cruel Sports investigation of Scottish Hunts in the 2014/15 season gave the impression that whilst exploiting this loophole was routine, the hunts they filmed didn’t even appear to have anyone with guns present.

We now have a chance to put an end to this cruelty for good. When the SNP intervened to save the Hunting Act in England and Wales from seriously damaging amendments, their spokesperson stated in no uncertain terms that, “we totally oppose fox hunting”. They also confirmed they would review whether the Scottish ban is strong enough.

This is our chance to close the loopholes and end fox hunting in Scotland for good. OneKind are asking us to help finish off what we started many, many years ago. Take action now, and ask the Minister responsible to close the loopholes and make the hunting ban in Scotland effective.

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IFAW launch campaign to protect wild animals in Scotland from cruelty

Following the recent successful delay of threats to the Hunting Act in England and Wales, IFAW are now calling on stronger protection for animals in Scotland.

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When the UK Government recently tried to wreck the Hunting Act for England and Wales, we heard a lot about how this would bring the law in line with the ban across the border in Scotland.

That’s no reassurance for animals though, as protection for wild mammals in Scotland could be substantially improved.

Incredibly, despite numerous allegations of illegal hunting, there has never been a successful prosecution of a mounted hunt member under the hunting laws in Scotland?

IFAW are asking for help now to strengthen animal protection laws in Scotland.

As an added bonus, this would also scupper the UK Government’s claim that by amending the laws south of the border they are simply trying to bring their provisions in line with those in Scotland.

As a bare minimum, IFAW want to see the laws in Scotland match the current Hunting Act in England and Wales, with provisions that would make enforcement easier (such as the number of dogs allowed to be used in some exemptions.)

They are asking members of the public to contact our MSPs and urge them to tighten up the laws in Scotland.

Illegal hunters prosecuted south of the border for hunting offences can often get away unpunished by claiming false alibis, such as ‘trail hunting’. IFAW also want to see this addressed.

To take action today and tell your MSP we demand better protection for wild animals in Scotland, click this link.