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26 December 2015, 06:23
A law designed to protect wild mammals has done nothing to dent the popularity of Boxing Day fox-hunting in Scotland, according to an animal welfare charity.
The Protection of Wild Mammals (Scotland) Act 2002 contains so many "loopholes'' that it is not "worth the paper it is printed on'', charity OneKind said.
OneKind director Harry Huyton said: "The tradition of mounted fox-hunting on Boxing Day is completely at odds with the festive season, which is a time of peace and good will and certainly not about terrorising and killing wildlife purely for entertainment.
"The law which was intended to end this barbaric practice has sadly failed due to a number of loopholes which have rendered it totally ineffective.
"We are urging the Scottish Government to bring forward the review it has committed to and bring about changes which will actually ban fox-hunting once and for all.''
Fox-hunting was supposedly banned in Scotland almost 13 years ago but OneKind claims that loopholes in the law mean very little has changed over the years and mounted hunts are continuing to hunt as they did before the legislation was implemented.
"Earlier this year, SNP MPs at Westminster made an intervention which prevented an amendment to the Hunting Act in England and Wales intended to weaken the law south of the border.
"At that time the party stated in no uncertain terms that 'We totally oppose fox-hunting'. The party also committed to a review of the law in Scotland.
"Fox-hunting is supposedly banned in Scotland yet if you were to attend any meet in Scotland today it would be perfectly clear that little has changed since the law came into force in 2002.
"The Scottish Government has committed to reviewing the legislation and we had hoped details of this would have been forthcoming before the year-end yet here we are just days away from 2016 with traditional Boxing Day hunts hunting as they always have.''
A recent survey by the Countryside Alliance predicts that around a quarter of a million people will turn out for annual Boxing Day hunts across the UK.