Scotland to ban hunting with dogs
20th September, 2001
Yesterday evening, the Scottish Parliament voted by an overwhelming majority (84-34) to ban hunting wild animals with dogs. Hare coursing, fox hunting and stag hunting could possibly be outlawed in Scotland by Spring of 2002. Hunters have responded by vowing to appeal to the Court of Human Rights!!!
We in the Irish Council Against Blood Sports are much heartened and encouraged by this development. We congratulate the Scots for being the first country in these islands to instigate a ban on these barbaric blood sports. England and Wales are not far behind, with the Labour Government pledge to bring a bill before parliament in this session. The majority of MPs favour a ban on hunting wild animals with dogs.
Ireland still lags far behind in tackling this cruelty issue, with the Government burying its head in the sand and studiously ignoring public opinion which is strongly opposed to blood sports. Indeed, the Ministers for Agriculture and Arts, Heritage who have responsibility for animal welfare and wildlife go out of their way to accommodate the hunters here. Only recently, both Joe Walsh and Sile De Valera gave their blessing to fox hunting and hare coursing despite the continuing threat of Foot and Mouth disease, and last year Minister Sile De Valera appointed Des Crofton, who heads up an umbrella group for all blood sports groups (FACE), to the wildlife committee on the heritage council (her own advisory body). So now we have hunters advising the Minister what's best for our precious wildlife.
As for the Scottish hunters' plan to take their case to the Court of Human Rights, we find it grotesque and abhorrent that some humans feel they have the right infringe a very basic animal right - the right not to be terrified, tortured and killed for fun. Indeed, that right is already enshrined in legislation, both here and in Britain in the 1911 Protection of Animals Act, but only for domestic animals. It's time that wild animals were afforded that protection.
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