Section 7 — Meaning of expressions

Protection of Wild Mammals (Scotland) Bill: Stage 3 – in the Scottish Parliament at 5:30 pm on 13th February 2002.

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Amendment 24 moved—[Mr Jamie McGrigor].

Photo of George Reid George Reid Scottish National Party

The question is, that amendment 24 be agreed to. Are we all agreed?

Members:

No.

Division number 50

For: Adam, Brian, Aitken, Bill, Brown, Robert, Davidson, Mr David, Ewing, Dr Winnie, Ewing, Fergus, Ewing, Mrs Margaret, Fergusson, Alex, Finnie, Ross, Fraser, Murdo, Gallie, Phil, Gorrie, Donald, Gray, Iain, Hamilton, Mr Duncan, Harding, Mr Keith, Jenkins, Ian, Johnstone, Alex, Lyon, George, McGrigor, Mr Jamie, Morgan, Alasdair, Mundell, David, Quinan, Mr Lloyd, Radcliffe, Nora, Raffan, Mr Keith, Rumbles, Mr Mike, Scanlon, Mary, Scott, John, Smith, Iain, Smith, Mrs Margaret, Stevenson, Stewart, Swinney, Mr John, Wallace, Ben, Wallace, Mr Jim, Welsh, Mr Andrew, Wilson, Allan, Wilson, Andrew
Against: Baillie, Jackie, Barrie, Scott, Boyack, Sarah, Butler, Bill, Campbell, Colin, Canavan, Dennis, Chisholm, Malcolm, Craigie, Cathie, Crawford, Bruce, Curran, Ms Margaret, Deacon, Susan, Fabiani, Linda, Ferguson, Patricia, Fitzpatrick, Brian, Gibson, Mr Kenneth, Gillon, Karen, Godman, Trish, Grant, Rhoda, Henry, Hugh, Home Robertson, Mr John, Hughes, Janis, Hyslop, Fiona, Ingram, Mr Adam, Jackson, Dr Sylvia, Jackson, Gordon, Jamieson, Margaret, Lamont, Johann, Livingstone, Marilyn, Lochhead, Richard, MacAskill, Mr Kenny, Macdonald, Lewis, Macintosh, Mr Kenneth, MacKay, Angus, Maclean, Kate, Macmillan, Maureen, Martin, Paul, Marwick, Tricia, McAllion, Mr John, McAveety, Mr Frank, McCabe, Mr Tom, McConnell, Mr Jack, McGugan, Irene, McLeod, Fiona, McMahon, Mr Michael, McNeill, Pauline, McNulty, Des, Morrison, Mr Alasdair, Muldoon, Bristow, Mulligan, Mrs Mary, Neil, Alex, Oldfather, Irene, Paterson, Mr Gil, Peacock, Peter, Peattie, Cathy, Robison, Shona, Scott, Tavish, Sheridan, Tommy, Simpson, Dr Richard, Smith, Elaine, Sturgeon, Nicola, Ullrich, Kay, Whitefield, Karen
Abstentions: Tosh, Mr Murray

Photo of George Reid George Reid Scottish National Party

The result of the division is: For 36, Against 62, Abstentions 1.

Amendment 24 disagreed to.

Amendment 85 moved—[Ross Finnie]—and agreed to.

Photo of George Reid George Reid Scottish National Party

Amendment 86 is grouped with amendments 87, 89 and 90.

Photo of Allan Wilson Allan Wilson Labour

These are technical amendments to section 7 that we believe are necessary. Amendment 89 allows ministers to modify by statutory instrument the definition of "pest species" in section 7(1). That is standard practice. It anticipates any change in circumstances in the future, and avoids any need for amending existing primary legislation. Amendments 86 and 87 are consequential on the changes made at stage 2 to exclude rabbits and rodents from the definition of "wild mammal".

I move amendment 86.

Photo of Fergus Ewing Fergus Ewing Scottish National Party

I am sure that it will come as a bit of a shock to rabbits that they are not wild mammals, but there we are.

I seek an assurance from the minister, because I drafted the definition of "pest species" and provided for statutory instruments to amend that definition. The only difference in the minister's version of the use of statutory instruments is that he will be able to remove species from the list. Many gamekeepers are concerned that there might be an intention to remove hares from the list of pest species. I ask for confirmation that there is no such intention.

Photo of Bristow Muldoon Bristow Muldoon Labour 5:45 pm, 13th February 2002

For the sake of keeping to time, I will say briefly that I am in favour of all four amendments in the group that are lodged in the name of the minister.

Photo of Allan Wilson Allan Wilson Labour

To answer Fergus Ewing's question, at this point we do not intend to remove any species from the list of pest species.

Amendment 86 agreed to.

Amendment 87 moved—[Ross Finnie]—and agreed to.

Photo of George Reid George Reid Scottish National Party

We move on to group 21. I call Mr McGrigor to speak to and move amendment 25. I ask him to be brief.

Photo of Jamie McGrigor Jamie McGrigor Conservative

Amendment 25 would extend the exemptions in the bill to include mink. Mink are non-indigenous, pernicious predators of wildlife. Gamekeepers use terriers to locate mink in order that traps may be laid and also in conjunction with other dogs to flush the mink from cover. Without amendment 25, those necessary pest-control activities might be outlawed.

The Burns report on hunting with dogs found:

"Mink can be very troublesome in the case of ground-nesting seabirds especially in Scotland and on small islands. Their activities, including surplus killing, have been linked to almost complete breeding failure amongst some colonies of terns and gulls, including some rare species."

The report also found:

"Mink can cause localised damage to poultry, gamebirds, fishing and wildlife interests."

And that:

"Mink have been held to be responsible for a major decline in water vole numbers."

Photo of Jamie McGrigor Jamie McGrigor Conservative

Mink are non-native to the UK and have spread across almost all of the country since their accidental introduction in the late 1950s, which was aided by deliberate, but illegal, release. There is no doubt that mink have to be controlled.

Until the spread of mink got out of hand, UK Government policy was for eradication. At present, £1.65 million is being spent in the Hebrides on a project to eradicate mink.

I move amendment 25.

Photo of George Reid George Reid Scottish National Party

The member in charge has waived his right to speak, in favour of Scott Barrie.

Photo of Scott Barrie Scott Barrie Labour

I will speak against Jamie McGrigor's amendment 25. The Rural Development Committee rejected the amendment. Jamie McGrigor rightly argues that mink are pests. However, that does not mean that we should hunt them with packs of dogs.

Mink hunting is not pest control; it is hunting for sport. At present, the sport is practised in England. It is something that we do not want to see being imported to Scotland.

Photo of Scott Barrie Scott Barrie Labour

No.

The threat of the sport being imported to Scotland is not an idle threat. While mink hunts are no longer based in Scotland, it is known that they visit on occasion. The last-known visit was in July 1999, when the Dove Valley mink hounds from Derbyshire hunted on the River Eden near Cupar in Fife. In the search for mink, the hunt used spades, metal rods and sticks. The hunt destroyed large parts of the river bank of the River Eden. It threatened indigenous species of the river, in particular otters. For that reason, and others, I urge members to reject amendment 25.

Photo of Allan Wilson Allan Wilson Labour

The Executive has no view on Jamie McGrigor's amendment 25. Mr McGrigor has missed a consequential amendment that would be required in the definition of "pest species", which is to be found in section 7. If the mink is not a wild mammal for the purposes of the bill, it cannot be an offence to hunt it. If the Parliament accepts Mr McGrigor's amendment 25 and, assuming that amendment 89 which allows Scottish ministers to modify the definition of "pest species" is agreed, the Executive would consider making an order to remove mink from that definition.

Photo of George Reid George Reid Scottish National Party

I call Mr McGrigor, who has one minute to say whether he will press or withdraw amendment 25.

Photo of Jamie McGrigor Jamie McGrigor Conservative

In answer to Scott Barrie's point, the only place where mink have been eradicated successfully is Iceland, where all methods that were suggested by Scottish Natural Heritage were examined before it was said that it would be unwise and costly to use those methods. The only method of successfully eradicating mink was to use dogs.

Dogs are required to locate mink. It is useless to have civil servants crawling around in the seaweed looking for mink droppings.

I press amendment 25.

Photo of George Reid George Reid Scottish National Party

The question is, that amendment 25 be agreed to. Are we agreed?

Members:

No.

Division number 51

For: Adam, Brian, Aitken, Bill, Brown, Robert, Crawford, Bruce, Davidson, Mr David, Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James, Ewing, Fergus, Fergusson, Alex, Fraser, Murdo, Gallie, Phil, Goldie, Miss Annabel, Gorrie, Donald, Grahame, Christine, Hamilton, Mr Duncan, Harding, Mr Keith, Hyslop, Fiona, Ingram, Mr Adam, Jenkins, Ian, Johnstone, Alex, MacDonald, Ms Margo, McGrigor, Mr Jamie, McIntosh, Mrs Lyndsay, McLetchie, David, Monteith, Mr Brian, Mundell, David, Munro, John Farquhar, Neil, Alex, Paterson, Mr Gil, Radcliffe, Nora, Raffan, Mr Keith, Rumbles, Mr Mike, Scanlon, Mary, Scott, John, Smith, Mrs Margaret, Stevenson, Stewart, Swinney, Mr John, Ullrich, Kay, Wallace, Ben, Wilson, Andrew
Against: Alexander, Ms Wendy, Baillie, Jackie, Barrie, Scott, Boyack, Sarah, Brankin, Rhona, Butler, Bill, Campbell, Colin, Canavan, Dennis, Chisholm, Malcolm, Craigie, Cathie, Cunningham, Roseanna, Curran, Ms Margaret, Deacon, Susan, Fabiani, Linda, Ferguson, Patricia, Finnie, Ross, Fitzpatrick, Brian, Gibson, Mr Kenneth, Gillon, Karen, Godman, Trish, Grant, Rhoda, Gray, Iain, Harper, Robin, Henry, Hugh, Home Robertson, Mr John, Hughes, Janis, Jackson, Dr Sylvia, Jackson, Gordon, Jamieson, Cathy, Jamieson, Margaret, Kerr, Mr Andy, Lamont, Johann, Livingstone, Marilyn, Lochhead, Richard, Lyon, George, MacAskill, Mr Kenny, Macdonald, Lewis, 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, Oldfather, Irene, Peacock, Peter, Peattie, Cathy, Quinan, Mr Lloyd, Robison, Shona, Robson, Euan, Scott, Tavish, Sheridan, Tommy, Simpson, Dr Richard, Smith, Elaine, Smith, Iain, Stephen, Nicol, Stone, Mr Jamie, Sturgeon, Nicola, Thomson, Elaine, Wallace, Mr Jim, Watson, Mike, Welsh, Mr Andrew, Whitefield, Karen, Wilson, Allan, Young, John
Abstentions: Tosh, Mr Murray

Photo of George Reid George Reid Scottish National Party

The result of the division is: For 39, Against 81, Abstentions 1.

Amendment 25 disagreed to.

Photo of Allan Wilson Allan Wilson Labour

Amendment 88 is a straightforward technical drafting amendment, which we invite the Parliament to support. The amendment ensures that references to "a dog" in section 7(1) include references to a single dog.

I move amendment 88.

Photo of Tricia Marwick Tricia Marwick Scottish National Party

I am happy to support amendment 88, which is a consequence—no doubt unintended—of Fergus Ewing's stage 2 amendment. As it stands, the phrase in section 7(1) means that hunting with single dogs is not covered by the law, which would allow some hare coursing and fox baiting to continued unhindered. That was not Fergus's intention, and I am happy that the minister has taken this opportunity to lodge the necessary technical amendment.

Amendment 88 agreed to.

Amendments 89 and 90 moved—[Ross Finnie}—and agreed to.