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Scottish hunting ban faces new challenge

HUNT FOLLOWERS in Scotland will see their traditional way of life ruined if a ban on hunting with dogs in Scotland comes into force, it was claimed in court last week.

The Court of Session in Edinburgh was told that “the fabric of the daily lives” of those involved was under threat from the Protection of Wild Mammals (Scotland) Bill. Nine individuals and organisations have lodged petitions claiming the legislation breaches the European Convention on Human Rights on four counts.

They want the court to strike down the legislation and prevent the Scottish Executive from bringing the new law into force on August 1. David Johnston, a lawyer acting on behalf of the petitioners, said yesterday that the protesters’ right to go about their private life was under threat.

Hunting was not only an activity carried out by a minority of people at certain times of the year, but was also a focal point for entire communities. Mr Johnston said: “Hunting is something that connects its participants closely with one another and it is a core part of their lives.”

The Borders community in particular would be severely affected by the ban because of the number of organised hunts that take place. He said: “The removal of foxhunting from the Scottish Borders would result in a profound and deeply-felt cultural impoverishment.” Mr Johnston said the Act was neither a “rational nor proportionate” way of preventing cruelty to animals and claimed that the Scottish Parliament had exceeded its powers by passing a law which infringed people’s human rights.

Earlier James Wolffe, a lawyer representing the Scottish Executive, had argued that ministers could not give in to public pressure when passing laws.

The hearing continues.