Section 1B — Exception: pest control (places unsafe for shooting)

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

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Photo of Alex Fergusson Alex Fergusson Conservative 3:15 pm, 13th February 2002

On line 10 of page 2, the bill seeks to ensure that when a wild mammal of a recognised pest species is flushed from its cover above or below ground, it is shot as soon as possible. That is a reasonable and sensible provision. However, there are many situations in which shooting is unsafe and others in which it is downright dangerous. Those include situations in which the animal is in or near buildings, near livestock, on roads and pathways and in plantations in which visibility is restricted. In such circumstances it is vital for the sake of animal welfare that more than one dog can be used to track, flush and dispatch recognised pests or vermin. Amendment 55 would allow for that.

Agreement to amendment 56 would be an absolute disaster. It would show a lack of understanding of how pest control is carried out with dogs in rural Scotland. Pest control protects people and livestock; without it, life for many farmers, land managers and gamekeepers would become almost impossible.

I move amendment 55.