Only one fox hunt disbands in Scotland but kill is up

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The Independent Online

In the 11 months since Scotland's ban on fox hunting came into force, only one of the country's 10 licensed hunts has disbanded. The other nine offer a pest-control service to landowners and farmers, hunting foxes that damage or threaten livestock.

In the 11 months since Scotland's ban on fox hunting came into force, only one of the country's 10 licensed hunts has disbanded. The other nine offer a pest-control service to landowners and farmers, hunting foxes that damage or threaten livestock.

Ironically, since the legisla-tion was passed by 68 MSPs to 36, with five abstentions, more foxes have been killed than in the year before the ban.

Hunt supporters say the clampdown has put out of business farriers, feed suppliers and saddle makers. Under exemptions, farmers can still invite huntsmen and hounds to haze foxes into the paths of marksmen. The hounds are allowed to chase wounded foxes into undergrowth.

Anyone breaching the legislation faces severe fines or six-month prison terms but there have been no convictions. Trevor Adams, of the Buccleuch hunt, and Rory Innes, of the Jedforest hunt, are awaiting a decision by the procurator fiscal over whether they should face trial for allegedly misusing dogs to hunt foxes.

The Scottish Countryside Alliance, which says the Act violates the European Convention on Human Rights, is awaiting judgment in its appeal to the Court of Session in Edinburgh. Last week, the court dismissed a similar appeal brought by the Union of Country Sports Workers.

Alan Murray, of the Scottish Countryside Alliance, said: "The Dumfriesshire hunt is the only pack to disband but none of the others, which have all seen their numbers drop by about 50 per cent, meet in any formal sense."

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