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Protection of Wild Mammals (Scotland) Bill
Richard Lochhead (Scottish National Party)
I hope that Ireland will consider the example that this Parliament is setting today.
The Parliament has listened to many people in Scotland. The Parliament was always concerned that people who were engaged in genuine pest control would be able to continue to make a living. We have achieved that by listening to their concerns. We have been presented with a good case. When the Rural Development Committee and the Parliament heard a good case, it listened and amended the bill accordingly.
I will go through some of the changes to the bill briefly. It now allows the use of dogs to flush out foxes from underground or from cover. The bill as introduced would not have allowed that. The bill now allows someone to send dogs below ground to kill orphaned cubs because we believed that that was the most humane option. The bill as introduced would not have allowed that. Licensing was dumped at the request of the gamekeepers and other groups. If the guns miss and the dog automatically chases the fox and kills it, the gamekeeper will not be breaking the law. That is another change. The bill also allows a dog to be sent after an injured fox because that is a more humane option. That too was not in the bill at the beginning.
Many people have hijacked the bill, but I say to members that the real rural rebels in my
I urge Parliament to pass the bill so that when people wake up in Scotland tomorrow, the country will be a little bit more civilised.