Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Fox Hunting - Scottish Parliament Campaign 2016

Thank you for your recent email regarding fox hunting.

You mention history in your letter.  The practice of hunting is indeed an ancient one.  The landowner was expected to know every inch of the holding which was in his trust: every stream, vale, hill and thicket.  He would have been responsible for the military defence of the area and along with his retinue: hunting with hounds was a very effective method of knowing every nook and cranny of the land.  The lives of the area's inhabitants would sometimes rely up both the local geographic knowledge and the retinue's level of fitness gained during the hunt.

The nobility no longer ride to war on horseback nor are they responsible for our defence in times of war.  Hunting with hounds has become an tradition; an anachronism in our modern age.

Today, we need to ensure the right balance is being struck between animal welfare and the need for sustainable countryside management.

As you may be aware, the Scottish Government has asked Lord Bonomy to review this legislation to ensure that it is providing the right protection for foxes and other wild mammals, while at the same time allowing land managers to conduct effective and humane control where necessary. For more information, please see: http://news.scotland.gov.uk/News/Fox-hunting-laws-20d4.aspx.

If I am elected to serve my community, you can be assured that I will look very closely at any
proposals that Lord Bonomy presents to the next Scottish Government.

I am aware that in relation to the incident you have highlighted Police Scotland has charged two men under Section 1(1) of The Protection of Wild Mammals (Scotland) Act 2002.  It would be, however, inappropriate for me to comment on this specific case.

The Liberal Democrat manifesto is currently being developed and will be published ahead of the
elections on 5 May. You will be able to find a copy in due course on our website at
www.scotlibdems.org.uk. The manifesto will set out our plans for the protection of the environment
and our wildlife and I hope that you will take a moment to look at our ideas.

To widen the scope of the issue, I cannot help but reflect that Scotland's ecological balance is out of kilter.  There are few natural predators left to control fox numbers in the countryside.  Historically, apex predators such as bear and wolf were hunted to extinction on this island.  Eagles nearly fell over the edge too.  If we in this nation wish to see a return of Scotland's woodlands and the fox in it's natural ecological niche, perhaps it is a question that we should consider.

I hope that you find my response helpful in setting out my position. Thank you again for contacting me and please do not hesitate to contact me if you believe I can be of further assistance.

Yours faithfully,

Martin Veart
Edinburgh Northern and Leith
Scottish Liberal Democrats.

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