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Lord Bonomy review shows scottish fox hunting law is unfit for purpose

Released to press on 21 November 2016

OneKind is calling on the Scottish Government to implement recommendations made by Lord Bonomy in a review of hunting as a matter of urgency. 

The findings of the long awaited Bonomy review into the operation of fox hunting legislation were published today (Monday).

OneKind Director Harry Huyton said: "OneKind has long argued that legislation banning fox hunting with hounds in Scotland is fundamentally flawed. Police Scotland told the review that the present law is 'unworkable' and that 'the exemptions provide opportunities for exploitation by those who continually and deliberately offend'. Now both these views have been echoed by Lord Bonomy."

This weekend OneKind released details of an autopsy which had been carried out by a hunt hunting legally within the confines of the current law. The autopsy concluded that "The fox had suffered severe trauma consistent with that caused by a dog or dogs". It showed the animal had suffered extensively before it died as well as providing evidence that showed that although the fox had been shot, it is highly unlikely this was the cause of death. This is the first time a fox killed by a hunt has undergone a post mortem since the Burns Inquiry prior to the hunt ban coming into force.

The Bonomy review estimates that 20% of foxes disturbed by Scottish hunts are killed by packs of hounds. That would equate to approximately 160 foxes killed in this way every year.

Harry Huyton said: “Despite a law which supposedly prevents foxes from suffering negative welfare impacts from hunting with hounds, the Bonomy review and this unprecedented post-mortem of a hunted fox makes it clear that suffering continues. The level of trauma experienced by the fox prior to its death and the way it dies is completely unacceptable.”

The review was announced on Boxing Day last year, traditionally the busiest day on the hunting calendar. Announcing the review the Minister said: “The aim of this review is to ensure current legislation is providing the necessary level of protection for foxes and other wild mammals, while at the same time allowing effective and humane control of these animals where needed".

Harry Huyton said: "While we welcome the review and its recommendations, the Scottish Government needs to go further if it is to end fox hunting. The review was based on a limited remit that assumed fox hunting was required to provide a pest control service. As a result, the recommendations effectively aim to regulate rather than ban hunting. This would be an improvement on the current situation, but Scottish public want to see fox hunting banned, and this was the original intention of the Scottish Parliament.

 "If the SNP want to stay true to their promise of strengthening the Act and banning fox hunting, they need to urgently implement recommendations made today by Lord Bonomy and give Scotland an Act that simply bans fox hunting. No ifs, no buts. It needs to be a crime to hunt foxes with dogs".

 "Lord Bonomy has done his job. It’s now over to the Scottish Government to close the loopholes in the Act and end fox hunting in Scotland. I hope we will see the political will to deliver this."


Notes to editor:

  1. OneKind is a Scottish charity based working to end cruelty to Scotland’s animals through campaigns, research and education.

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