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Scottish hunt ban ‘not incompatible’ human rights

Campaigners against hunting wild mammals with dogs last week welcomed the decision by the Inner House of the Court of Session in Edinburgh to turn down an appeal that claimed the Protection of Wild Mammals (Scotland) Act 2002 was incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights.

The law that bans hunting with dogs in Scotland came into effect two years ago, and bans fox hunting, mink hunting and hare hunting and coursing.

Months were spent debating the Bill, and the Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament and the Scottish Law Officers subsequently certified that the Act was compatible with the European Convention. Douglas Batchelor, Chief Executive of the League Against Cruel Sports stated "This confirmation sets a clear example for the House of Commons. There are no human rights grounds to prevent a ban. The Government's Hunting Bill should be reintroduced as soon as possible so that England and Wales can play 'catch up' with Scotland."

Ross Minett, Director of Advocates for Animals said "We believe that hunting is cruel and unnecessary and MSPs were fully justified in following their constituents' wish to ban it. The will of the Scottish Parliament was always clear on this issue, and this has been reflected by the judge's decision today. We look forward to the continued and thorough enforcement of the law."

A poll conducted by MORI Scotland in September 2000 showed that approximately 7 out of 10 Scots are opposed to hunting with dogs. Overall the poll found that 67% of those polled were opposed to hunting with dogs compared to 10% in favour of hunting with dogs.