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Call for tougher hunting laws after dogs rip fox apart

This news post is about 5 years old

Animal charities said current hunt legislation isn't worth the paper it's written on

Animal charities have called for hunting laws to be strengthened amid claims a fox was killed by dogs in Renfrewshire.

OneKind and the League Against Cruel Sports said the fox was killed by hounds from the Lanarkshire and Renfrewshire Hunt near Bridge of Weir in early November.

The animal was taken to Hesselhead Wildlife Hospital where an autopsy concluded it had suffered “gruesome” injuries consistent with that caused by a dog or dogs.

These included extensive tearing of the skin and muscles and a hole in the chest wall so deep the animal’s lung was visible within.

The pathology report highlights a catalogue of gruesome injuries leaving no doubt to the extent to which this animal suffered

Vets also found evidence of a gunshot wound but said shooting was “highly unlikely” to have been the cause of death.

The post-mortem was the first performed on an animal since the Burns Inquiry prior to the hunt ban coming into force.

OneKind Director Harry Huyton said: "Despite a law which supposedly prevents foxes from suffering negative welfare impacts from hunting with hounds, this unprecedented post-mortem of a hunted fox makes it clear that suffering continues

"The level of trauma experienced by the fox prior to its death and the manner in which it died is completely unacceptable and debunks the myth that foxes killed by packs of hounds are dispatched with a 'quick nip to the back of the neck'.

“The pathology report highlights a catalogue of gruesome injuries leaving no doubt to the extent to which this animal suffered."

Current legislation requires foxes to be flushed out before being killed with a gun, but animal charities argue this means the welfare of the hunted quarry can still be severely compromised - even if hunts act within the confines of the law.

A review into the Protection of Wild Mammals (Scotland) Act 2002 and hunting in Scotland has been carried out by Lord Bonomy with his findings due to published this month. Police Scotland told the review that the present law is “unworkable” and that “the exemptions provide opportunities for exploitation by those who continually and deliberately offend”.

League Against Cruel Sports Scotland Director Robbie Marsland said: "We look forward to the Scottish Government strengthening the law to make sure that no other foxes are killed in this dreadful and repugnant way.

"The law was intended to put an end to the cruelty of hunting foxes with hounds but it isn't worth the paper it's written on if wild animals are continuing to suffer in this manner."



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