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OneKind calls on Scottish Government to make this year’s Boxing Day hunts the last

Released to press on 25 December 2016

OneKind, Scotland’s leading animal campaigns charity, is calling on the Scottish Government to end fox hunting for good on the busiest day in the hunting calendar.

It follows on from a landmark year which saw the publication of Lord Bonomy’s review into fox hunting in Scotland, and the first post-mortem of a hunted fox since the ‘ban’ was introduced in 2002. 

Harry Huyton, Director of OneKind, said:

“The hunts will yet again go out today and foxes will be killed. Some may even be ripped apart by the packs of hounds that continue to be used by the hunts throughout the country.  We are calling on the Scottish Government to act as early as possible in 2017 to ensure this is the last Boxing Day this cruel ‘sport’ darkens the festive period.”

Fox hunting has been banned in Scotland under the Protection of Wild Mammals (Scotland) Act since 2002, but loopholes in the law have meant that little has changed. In 2015 the SNP threatened to vote against amending the Hunting Act covering England in Westminster, derailing the UK Government’s plan to weaken the Act so that it was on par with the Scottish law. At the time, Angus Robertson, the SNP leader in Westminster and now deputy party leader, said that “we totally oppose foxhunting”. 

The Bonomy Review was commissioned by the Scottish Government to ensure the legislation is providing the necessary protection for foxes. Last month, Lord Bonomy published his review, and we believe it supports our longstanding view that the ban is unfit for purpose. 

The review highlighted the failures of the current law as Scottish hunts have continued to carry out their activities after the ban by claiming that it is for pest control. Lord Bonomy suggests that this reasoning is a “decoy” to allow traditional hunts to still take place.The Bonomy review also estimated that approximately 160 foxes are killed by hounds in Scotland each year.

Harry Huyton continued:

“The Scottish Government is now armed with the Bonomy review, which gives a clear mandate to close the loopholes that undermine the so-called ban. We hope to see the Cabinet Secretary coming forward with a timetable for these reforms in the New Year.”

Last month, OneKind released results of a post-mortem on a fox which had been hunted legally under the current law. The autopsy showed that the fox suffered significantly before it died, and while it had been shot, it was highly unlikely that this was the cause of death.  It concluded that the fox had died “due to a combination of respiratory failure, blood loss and shock” and that “This will have caused significant unnecessary suffering to the fox.”  

Harry Huyton concluded:

“The suffering of this fox as it was ripped apart by the hounds was inexcusable, and yet over 150 foxes are thought to die like this in Scotland every year. The public want this cruelty banned, and so does the Scottish Government. There is no excuse not to act quickly in 2017 to close the loopholes and ban fox hunting for good.”


Notes to editor:

 OneKind is an animal protection charity based in Edinburgh working to end cruelty to Scotland’s animals.   

  1. The Report of the Review of the Protection of Wild Mammals (Scotland) Act 2002 by Lord Bonomy was published on 21 November 2016. A summary and critique of the Review by OneKind can be found here.
  2. The fox carcass was handed into Hessilhead Wildlife Hospital in Ayrshire on 5 November. The fox had extensive injuries and Hessilhead were keen to establish the cause of death, so they contacted OneKind and we arranged for a post-mortem to be carried out by SAC Consulting Veterinary Services. More details are available here and a summary of the post-mortem is available here.

For further information or photographs please contact Sarah Moyes on 0131 661

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Saving Scotland's Foxes with Hessilhead