In the space of just two weeks last year, almost 25,000 people signed our petition to First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon. NFA knew the SNP could play a powerful role in preventing David Cameron from weakening the Hunting Act. We were delighted when the SNP announced they would be voting against Cameron’s attempts to bring hunting back to England and Wales through the back door, and more-so when he cancelled the vote with defeat on the horizon.

The time has come to harness our collective power once more, and contribute to the Scottish Government Review of The Protection of Wild Mammals (2002) Act, led by Lord Bonomy, which is open to everyone for submissions until the end of March. The importance of this is two-fold:

  1. Scottish hunting laws are weaker than those in the rest of the UK. Hunters north of the border can use any number of hounds to flush foxes to waiting guns, and go underground to “flush out” foxes. In England and Wales that is restricted to just two. We have a duty as animal lovers to make sure foxes, rabbits, hare, mink and deer are, at the very least,  as protected from harm at the hands of hunters in Scotland as they are in England and Wales.
  2. David Cameron made a pledge in his manifesto to put a repeal of the Hunting Act to a free vote. Environment Secretary Liz Truss  stated last year that the government will return to the matter when parliamentary time allows. On Sunday 14th February 2016, Cabinet Minister Matthew Hancock, who is in charge of implementing his party’s manifesto, reaffirmed the government commitment to the pledge, during a BBC Interview. By submitting to the Review we show the SNP that they must finish what they started last July when they stood up for wildlife, and up to Cameron. By tightening Scottish Hunting Laws, they will be in an even stronger position to stand up to him next time.

Animals don’t understand the concept of borders. They have no idea they will be less likely to be torn apart by a pack of hounds on one side of it than the other. MSP Christine Grahame is on record as wanting a total ban on hunting with hounds in Scotland.  NFA is is agreement with Ms Grahame. However, it is sadly unlikely that the Scottish Government will impose a complete ban at this stage. In the meantime, there are several active UK Hunts which by their own admission, straddle both sides of the border:

College Valley/North Northumberland Hunt

Bewcastle Hunt

Border Hunt

Jedforest Hunt

We must stand up for Scottish wildlife with the same energy and passion as we did for English and Welsh wildlife last summer. Make your voice heard today. Let’s inundate Lord Bonomy with rational, succinct submissions, which adhere to the remit.  Let Lord Bonomy, and the Scottish government see how important this issue to us. By giving up a small amount of your time to submit to the review, you show your commitment to animal welfare in the UK. Stand up and be counted, as these opportunities don’t come along often.

The thousands of petition signatures, tweets, Facebook messages, the personal letters you sent to MPs, and hundreds of you  going to see your MPs; these things made a huge difference last summer. It made the SNP, and indeed all UK politicians realise just how serious the public is about animal welfare:

We will not tolerate bloodsports in the 21st Century.