The Scottish government has announced plans to bring forward legislation that will “seriously compromise effective pest control in the country,” according to the Countryside Alliance.

Rural Affairs Minister Mairi Gougeon has proposed a limit of two dogs for flushing and shooting foxes, going against the recommendations of Lord Bonomy’s review for the Scottish Government in 2016, which argues that using packs of dogs is both more effective and humane than using two.

Countryside Alliance Director for Scotland, Jamie Stewart, said: “This will put the Government completely at odds with rural Scotland not just because it would remove an effective method of pest control, but also because by ignoring science and promoting prejudice it sets an appalling precedent for so many other issues.

“It is utterly ridiculous that the Scottish Government has chosen to pursue a course that is in direct contradiction to its own independent review, peer-reviewed science and all the available evidence.”

In other news, following a statement by Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing on future rural policy, Scottish Land & Estates have argued that it is essential that the Scottish Government and the industry quickly progress their plans for supporting land managers throughout Scotland.

The SLE said that it welcomed many announcements contained within Mr Ewing’s speech, including a planned Scottish Agriculture Bill, but said forming a coherent agriculture and land use strategy was required before legislation was introduced.

David Johnstone, chairman of SLE, said: “That legislation, however, needs to be underpinned by a thorough land use strategy which takes account of not just agriculture but other land uses such as forestry, sporting and tourism.”

Without clear long-term vision, businesses in Scotland’s field sports sector – and the employment and communities they support – face a challenging future. Mr Johnstone continued: “We don’t have clarity on the timescale for the bill – nor do we know about public support for land management after 2024 – but the sector and government needs to start deciding what it wants to achieve as soon as possible to enable the best possible legislation to come into force.”


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