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Section 1G — Exception: injured or diseased mammals
Protection of Wild Mammals (Scotland) Bill: Stage 3
Amendment 65 moved—[Ross Finnie]—and agreed to.
John McAllion (Labour)
Amendment 66 is supported by many and would leave out section 1G, which is the section that allows a dog to be used
"to despatch a wild mammal for the purpose of preventing suffering to the mammal, where the person reasonably believes that the mammal is injured or diseased."
We have two objections to section 1G. The first concerns the treatment of hares. Supporters of the section would be hard put to explain how it would stop hare coursing if poachers honestly believed that the hare was limping, otherwise injured or diseased. The poachers could also claim that the hare was diseased. The section does not require
John McAllion (Labour)
As far as hare coursing is concerned, section 1G would defeat one of the principles that the Parliament supported at stage 1. I have often been described as a wrecker. I detect the work of other wreckers—wreckers of a different kind—behind section 1G.
Our second objection to section 1G relates to the activities of hunts. Mike Watson and others have explained that the bill already enables those with a legitimate reason, hill packs, gamekeepers and landowners to fire at—and sometimes wound—a fox and to kill it humanely if it has been wounded. I refer to section 3(1)(c), which provides that dogs can be used to locate wounded foxes, provided only that
"the mammal, once located, is captured, treated or killed as humanely as possible in order to relieve its suffering".
Scott Barrie dealt with that.
Our objection is that section 1G is not only unnecessary but positively harmful. Consider a future scenario, which could become reality if section 1G is allowed to remain. Try to imagine an old, established hunt that is resentful and bitter about the end of fox hunting but, determined to carry on indulging the love of horses and of the countryside, votes to continue with drag hunting. The huntsmen are out chasing the drag around the hunt master's estate, when they spy a fox. The hounds, which are well trained, would no more change course than any huntsman would allow them to do so if a fresh fox happened to cross the path of a tired fox. In this future scenario, a drag is being chased instead of a tired fox.
In this case, however, the hunt master decides to change course. The hounds go tearing after the fox and eventually wear it down and kill it. It so happens that the whole event is filmed by animal welfare monitors, who hand the film over to the police. The police arrest and charge the hunt master and the professional huntsmen. In the court, the hunt master's plea is that, having been a hunt master for 30 years of his life, he knows foxes as well as anyone can and has a respect for them both as friend and foe. With his hand on his heart, he tells the court, "The fox we hunted I believed to be injured or diseased."
I move amendment 66.
David Mundell (Conservative)
Mr McAllion has clearly not read section 1(1). If hunters intending to go out on a drag hunt come across a fox and their dogs chase the fox, no crime has been committed.
David Mundell (Conservative)
Section 1(1), which is about intention, has not been amended. If, when people who are out drag hunting on horseback, wearing red coats and shouting "Tally-ho"—the whole works—come across a fox and their dogs chase the fox, that is not a crime. Members have been conned into voting for a bill that they think bans hunting and into taking out the provisions that relate to legitimate gamekeeping activities.
Mike Rumbles (Liberal Democrat)
I support David Mundell's comments. Amendment 66 is badly mistaken and typical of the attempts that have been made to close so-called loopholes in the bill. In doing that, members have had a go at gamekeepers, farmers in upland Scotland and hill packs. What David Mundell just said is absolutely correct. The amendment shows the completely wrong direction of the bill. The member who introduced the bill said that it was about cruelty in sport. The bill should have been about that, but it no longer is.
Tricia Marwick (Scottish National Party)
I refer members to the text of section 1G. It states:
"A person does not contravene section 1(1) by using a dog to despatch a wild mammal for the purpose of preventing suffering to the mammal, where the person reasonably believes that the mammal is injured or diseased."
That means that people can go out on horseback, take dogs with them and, if a fox limps by—or someone thinks that they saw a fox limp by—a mounted fox hunt can take place. It is critical that section 1G be removed from the bill, as it would allow mounted fox hunts to continue. The section was introduced through one of the wrecking amendments that were lodged at stage 2. The section must be removed—let us go for it.
John McAllion (Labour)
In my opening remarks, I stated that a hunt master could take a decision to change course and send his dogs after a fox that is perceived to be wounded, injured or diseased in some way. David Mundell failed to pick up on that key point. People who want to drive a coach and
Division number 26
For: Adam, Brian, Alexander, Ms Wendy, Baillie, Jackie, Barrie, Scott, Boyack, Sarah, Brankin, Rhona, Brown, Robert, Butler, Bill, Campbell, Colin, Canavan, Dennis, Chisholm, Malcolm, Craigie, Cathie, Cunningham, Roseanna, Curran, Ms Margaret, Deacon, Susan, Ewing, Dr Winnie, Ewing, Mrs Margaret, Fabiani, Linda, Ferguson, Patricia, Fitzpatrick, Brian, Gibson, Mr Kenneth, Gillon, Karen, Godman, Trish, Grant, Rhoda, Gray, Iain, Hamilton, Mr Duncan, Harper, Robin, Henry, Hugh, Hughes, Janis, Hyslop, Fiona, Ingram, Mr Adam, Jackson, Dr Sylvia, Jackson, Gordon, Jamieson, Cathy, Jamieson, Margaret, Kerr, Mr Andy, Lamont, Johann, Livingstone, Marilyn, Lochhead, Richard, MacAskill, Mr Kenny, Macdonald, Lewis, MacDonald, Ms Margo, Macintosh, Mr Kenneth, MacKay, Angus, Maclean, Kate, Macmillan, Maureen, Martin, Paul, Marwick, Tricia, Matheson, Michael, McAllion, Mr John, McAveety, Mr Frank, McCabe, Mr Tom, McConnell, Mr Jack, McGugan, Irene, McLeish, Henry, McLeod, Fiona, McMahon, Mr Michael, McNeil, Mr Duncan, McNeill, Pauline, McNulty, Des, Morgan, Alasdair, Morrison, Mr Alasdair, Muldoon, Bristow, Mulligan, Mrs Mary, Murray, Dr Elaine, Neil, Alex, Oldfather, Irene, Paterson, Mr Gil, Peacock, Peter, Peattie, Cathy, Robison, Shona, Sheridan, Tommy, Simpson, Dr Richard, Smith, Elaine, Sturgeon, Nicola, Thomson, Elaine, Ullrich, Kay, Watson, Mike, Welsh, Mr Andrew, Whitefield, Karen, Wilson, Allan, Wilson, Andrew, Young, John
Against: Aitken, Bill, Davidson, Mr David, Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James, Ewing, Fergus, Fergusson, Alex, Finnie, Ross, Fraser, Murdo, Gallie, Phil, Goldie, Miss Annabel, Gorrie, Donald, Grahame, Christine, Harding, Mr Keith, Home Robertson, Mr John, Jenkins, Ian, Johnstone, Alex, Lyon, George, McGrigor, Mr Jamie, McLetchie, David, Monteith, Mr Brian, Mundell, David, Munro, John Farquhar, Quinan, Mr Lloyd, Radcliffe, Nora, Raffan, Mr Keith, Robson, Euan, Rumbles, Mr Mike, Russell, Michael, Scanlon, Mary, Scott, John, Smith, Iain, Smith, Mrs Margaret, Stephen, Nicol, Stevenson, Stewart, Stone, Mr Jamie, Swinney, Mr John, Wallace, Ben, Wallace, Mr Jim
Abstentions: Crawford, Bruce, Scott, Tavish