The consultation, which will run until mid-September, will gather views from people across Scotland and help shape the final bill proposal.
The fox and hare bill will deliver a real fox hunting ban, closing the loopholes that allow hunting to continue in Scotland now much as it did before the 2002 ‘ban’, and end the killing of hares, which has become routine on grouse moors across Scotland. The proposed Bill would also protect foxes, mountain hares and brown hares, prohibiting the killing of these species without a licence.
Ms Johnstone has brought this Bill forward because foxes and hares are routinely killed in huge numbers, the Scottish Government have consistently indicated their support for action, and because there is widespread public support for action.
Alison Johnstone MSP said:
“Foxes and hares are iconic species that are widely celebrated in popular culture and valued by rural and urban Scots alike. They deserve our compassion and respect, yet they are routinely slaughtered across the country in huge numbers. My proposal would give these animals the protection they so urgently need.
“The Scottish Government and the First Minister herself have expressed their support for action but have been unable to find the time to bring forward a legislative proposal themselves. I’m confident they will get behind my proposal and together we can protect Scotland’s foxes and hares.
“Fox hunting was meant to have been banned in Scotland in 2002, but little has changed. Hunts still go out, pursuing and killing foxes, and foxes are still being killed by hunting dogs. My proposal would remove the loopholes and result in a watertight ban, ending hunting for good. Politicians have repeatedly promised to end hunting, and the Parliament passed the Protection of Wild Mammals Act back in its very first session. For hunting to continue despite this leads to distrust in our institutions and those leading them. My proposals would represent a new contract between land managers and the wider public that could help restore good faith
“Mountain hares are routinely being killed in huge numbers on grouse moors in particular, with an average of 26,000 killed every year. This is a native species whose population has crashed in some parts of the Highlands, and there is simply no justification for the killing.”