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 Sylvia Jackson Sylvia Jackson Labour 2:15 pm, 13th February 2002

It would take quite a long time to explain that. I am conscious of time. Suffice it to say that, as far as I understand it, the bill allows for lurchers and dogs of that nature to retrieve a wounded animal, which can then be shot. Whether one allows a dog or a number of dogs, the issue is still the same—one is allowing a dog to kill a fox or a wild mammal.

I must get on. The SSPCA has pointed out that the insertion of "or a dog" has the effect of allowing a dog or dogs intentionally to kill a fox or other wild mammal. Accidentally killing a fox is not the issue—that is adequately covered in section 1A(1B). The three words "or a dog" allow intentional killing of a fox or other wild mammal with a dog, as is the case with mounted hunts.

The SSPCA has stated in relation to using dogs for killing foxes:

"It may take a considerable time to kill a fox and this would not necessarily be humane."

The SSPCA maintains that the most humane way of disposing of a fox or other wild animal is by shooting. If the words "or a dog" remain in line 22, page 1, section 1A of the bill, from an animal welfare perspective—one that takes on board the views of the SSPCA—there is no point in proceeding with the bill.

In reply to earlier comments by Fergus Ewing, gamekeepers, hill packs and farmers must be able to continue their legitimate pest control activities under the bill, but they must do that in a way that is humane. The bill will allow that to happen—I am confident of that.