Section 1A — Exception: stalking and flushing from cover

Part of Protection of Wild Mammals (Scotland) Bill: Stage 3 – in the Scottish Parliament at 2:15 pm on 13th February 2002.

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Photo of Ross Finnie Ross Finnie Liberal Democrat 2:15 pm, 13th February 2002

I must apologise for inadvertently confusing the process at this stage. In lodging amendments that were genuinely designed to clarify the situation, amendments that were drafted earlier were, regrettably, also lodged. Those amendments are 39, 46 and 47 and they were subsequently selected, but the Executive does not propose to move them. Furthermore, we are in a difficult position because, if the amendments were moved, we would oppose them.

There are many amendments in this grouping. We believe that the balance of advantage in interpreting this part of the section lies in leaving the bill as drafted on the issue of a single dog. We believe that Alex Fergusson's series of amendments in this grouping and elsewhere that propose to insert the phrase "or a pair of dogs" after the word "dog" are unfortunate. Those amendments could make difficult the interpretation of the sections and would serve only to muddle interpretation of the bill. I am bound to say that we suggest that Parliament take account of that and reject those amendments.

We have a strong view on David Mundell's amendment 5. Having applied an interpretation and workability test, we are concerned that the deletion that is suggested by the amendment of the term "under control" would change the balance of interpretation in the section. We strongly recommend that the amendment be rejected. If the amendment were agreed to, it would cast doubt on the workability of the section and, therefore, of the bill. It is quite clear to us that the inclusion of the amendment—which relates to a dog, which can, in law, mean one dog or a number of dogs—coupled with section 1A, which allows a dog or a number of dogs to kill a wild mammal, would undeniably undermine one of the central tenets of the bill.

Amendment 41, which seeks to remove an "or a dog" provision, can be supported.