Tighter laws to protect Scotland's wildlife.
New legislation to prevent the chasing and killing of wild mammals for sport has been passed by the Scottish Parliament.
The Scottish Government's Hunting with Dogs Bill will close loopholes in existing laws that have allowed the practice of illegal hunting to continue. A new two dog limit for all use of dogs in the course of hunting will be introduced, as well as a ban on the practice of trail hunting.
The Bill also establishes a new licencing scheme to allow the use of more than two dogs in certain limited circumstances. This is to provide farmers and land managers access to appropriate and humane control measures, where necessary.
Environment Minister Mairi McAllan said:
This Bill represents a significant step forward in protecting Scotland's wildlife from the cruel and senseless practice of illegal hunting,
I am pleased that the Parliament has agreed on a new law which will close the door on the illegal chasing and killing of mammals once and for all.
I'd like to thank everyone who responded to our public consultations and interested groups for their valuable input throughout this process.
I believe that this new legislation has struck the right balance between ensuring Scotland pursues the highest possible animal welfare standards, while recognising the need for farmers, land managers and environmental organisations to undertake legitimate wildlife management.