A Scottish council has approved plans for new kennels for a Scottish hunt. But campaigners suggest that it is out of step with the public’s mood on the activity.


NEW HOME FOR THE HUNT

Lanarkshire and Renfrewshire Foxhounds submitted proposals for new kennels in October 2021. And Renfrewshire Council approved the application on 24 March 2022. But as highlighted by Scottish news site The Ferret, this decision is at odds with the public’s mood on hunting.

Robbie Marsland, director of the League Against Cruel Sports (Scotland), told The Ferret that the application is “quite surprising at a time when the hunting legislation is under so much scrutiny”. 

Glasgow Hunt Sabs echoed the sentiment, telling Keep TheBan that:

“We are surprised to see that The Lanarkshire andRenfrewshire hunt have been granted permission for new kennels to be built considering the future of hunting in Scotland is hanging by a thread.

The L&R hunt have also recently employed a new huntsman ready for the season ahead. Fraser Campbell and his family have moved into the current estate ready for hunting to commence in the Autumn. It would appear that it is business as usual for the Lanarkshire and Renfrewshire Foxhounds.”

On 25 February, the Scottish government announced it was introducing a new Hunting with Dogs Bill. This would replace existing Protection of Wild Mammals (Scotland) Act 2002, loopholes in which Scottish environment minister Màiri McAllan said have allowed “illegal activity to persist”.

Glasgow Hunt Sabs filmed Lanarkshire and Renfrewshire Foxhounds huntsman Conrad Jones throwing a dead fox to hounds in November 2021. The footage made national news.

As a result, Marsland told The Ferret that he was unsure whether the new bill “shows a complete ignorance for the political and public will… or just the usual lack or regard hunts seem to have for sticking to the law”.

However, Renfrewshire Council put out planning application notices asking for comments. And it received only one response, which voiced concern about possible problems arising from noise and odour. And, as the planning approval document notes, the building complies with “policies and guidance of the Council”, thereby making approval almost statutory. 

Keep The Ban contacted Renfrewshire Council for comment on Marsland’s claims. It hadn’t responded at the time of publishing.

Keep The Ban also contacted Lanarkshire and Renfrewshire Foxhounds but hadn’t received a response at the time of publishing.

CAUTIOUSLY OPTIMISTIC

Glasgow Hunt Sabs, who regularly attend Lanarkshire and Renfrewshire Foxhounds, were cautiously optimistic about the Hunting with Dogs Bill. The group described the new bill as “monumental” and “more than a step in the right direction”. Despite caveats in the proposed legislation permitting licensed hunts with more than two hounds, the group said the “laborious” process of obtaining and maintaining such a licence would make traditional hunting almost impossible.

Significantly, the sab group also thanked huntsman Jones “for being instrumental in conceiving this Bill”. It highlighted the previously mentioned footage of a fox’s body thrown to hounds for returning hunting with hounds into the Scottish public’s mind just as the Bill was passing through parliament.

Looking forwards, the group told Keep The Ban that it will continue pressuring the Lanarkshire and Renfrewshire Foxhounds until the hunting is banned completely:

“Until any legislation is brought in, we will be at every hunt meet the L&R host. Make no mistake, until the day that hunting inScotland comes to a long awaited end, we will be in the fields protecting our wildlife.”


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