Thank you for your e mail regarding to the Hunting with Dogs (Scotland) Bill.
Scottish Labour is committed to strengthening wildlife protection law and animal welfare in Scotland and had a clear manifesto commitment to support a ban on fox hunting in Scotland. It is a matter of regret that loopholes in the existing legislation have been exploited in recent years and for that reason new legislation is being brought forward.
Hunts have been riding roughshod over both the letter and the spirit of the fox hunting ban for a decade now, but we finally have a chance to right this wrong.
The Scottish Government are set to create new loopholes as we work to close the old ones with their unworkable and unnecessary licensing scheme – but Scottish Labour believes that you cannot license cruelty. I and my Scottish Labour colleagues will fight to make this the last tally-ho for hunting by removing this loophole and consigning this archaic ‘sport’ to the history books once and for all.
My colleagues, Colin Smyth MSP, shadow spokesperson for Net Zero, Energy, Transport, Rural and Biodiversity, and Mercedes Villalba MSP, Scottish Labour committee member for Rural Affairs, Islands and Natural Environment Committee have pledged to lodge amendments to remove the loopholes as this Bill moves through Parliament. Scottish Labour are committed the Scottish Government are held to account on high animal welfare standards.
We recognise that it is important to have robust legislation and with the bill going through Parliament we will continue to scrutinise the matter closely. We have and will continue to work with all stakeholders on the matter, from all sides, recognising however that Scottish Labour does have a clear position on the issue and have supported the Bill so far.
Once again, than you for sharing your views.