A report with recommendations to improve the operation of the Protection of Wild Mammals (Scotland) Act 2002 had been submitted to the Scottish Government by the Rt Hon Lord Bonomy, whose report contains a number of recommendations, including:
• Clarification of the Act's language to make enforcement easier
• Consideration of the appointment of part-time, independent hunt monitors to observe hunt activities on a random basis
• A Code of Practice for the conduct of hunt activities
• Consideration of whether vicarious liability is appropriate if an offence is committed
• Consideration of extending the time limit for bringing prosecutions under the 2002 Act.
Accepting the report, Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said:
“I’d like to thank Lord Bonomy and his team for examining this legislation.
“The SNP Government recognised concerns about whether the legislation on fox-hunting is working properly – that is why we asked Lord Bonomy to carry out this detailed work. Back in 2002, Scotland led the way in addressing animal welfare concerns and we remain committed to ensuring the highest levels of welfare for our wild animals.
“We will now carefully consider the findings, with a view to responding in 2017. Any ensuing proposals for legislative change will be subject to the proper consultation processes.”
Added Kenneth Gibson:
"Having voted in Parliament 15 years ago to support the original Act, like many others I am concerned that it retains too much wriggle room for hunts. I am therefore delighted that the SNP Government has begun a process which I believe will tighten and improve this legislation."
The appointment of Lord Bonomy to undertake the review was announced on 26 December 2015. The remit of the review was to ascertain whether the 2002 Act was providing a sufficient level of protection for wild mammals, while at the same time allowing for their effective and humane control where necessary.
Almost 300 submissions were received following a call between 1 February and 31 March 2016. Those for which consent was received were published on 24 October.
The full report can be viewed here.