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Scottish ‘hunting ban’ as appeal block fails

HUNTING WITH hounds was outlawed in Scotland from last Friday after the eleventh-hour failure of countryside campaigners to overturn the legislation.

The group of individuals and hunt organisations vowed that they would continue their fight after failing to convince Scotland's top civil court that anti-fox hunting legislation passed by the Scottish Parliament infringed their human rights.

Lord Nimmo Smith, at the Court of Session in Edinburgh, dismissed their call for a judicial review and agreed with the Scottish Executive that compensation should not be paid to rural workers who lost their jobs.

Allan Murray, director of the Scottish Countryside Alliance, said he was disappointed by the ruling but not surprised. The alliance was now considering an appeal against the decision, and Mr Murray promised that pro-hunt campaigners would continue to argue their case "in every court of the land". Mr Murray has vowed that the Alliance fight the decision "in every court of the land" to protect individual rights over "political dogma". Mr Murray says the legislation is putting the livelihoods of many people "at risk", while confusion remains as to what exactly was outlawed and what remains legal under the Act.

"This legislation will shatter livelihoods and businesses in rural Scotland, yet the court appears to have merely rubber-stamped the Act passed by the Scottish Parliament. This is the opening skirmish in a very long campaign."

Lord Nimmo Smith also rejected a call for a second hearing at which the petitioners - including a farmer, a master of foxhounds and a landowner - could give evidence in person.
In his 122-page written judgment, he said the courts were not in a position to over-rule legislation passed by Parliament.

Some of Scotland's ten hunts are expected to continue to offer a service to farmers, using hounds to flush out foxes to be shot by waiting guns.

But Trevor Adams, 43, master of fox hounds to the Duke of Buccleuch's Hunt - who was one of the petitioners - said he was now facing the prospect of losing his job and having to kill his hounds.

"My main concern is not for myself or my family but for my hounds. Some of these hounds have blood lines going back to 1860 and a lot more thought has gone into their breeding than most of the politicians who passed this Act."

The ruling was welcomed by the Scottish Campaign Against Hunting With Dogs, which said the legislation had outlawed a "barbaric sport".

Mike Hobday, of the League Against Cruel Sports, said Westminster should follow Scotland's lead.

The Scottish Countryside Alliance is also planning to take its protest to the European Court of Human Rights if further legal protests in the UK falter.