Bonomy report recommends fox hunting code of practice and consideration of vicarious liability



Lord Bonomy

Lord Bonomy has recommended a code of practice for the conduct of fox hunting as well as the consideration of vicarious liability for offences as his review on the operation of the Protection of Wild Mammals (Scotland) Act 2002 submits its findings to the Scottish government today.

His report contains a number of recommendations, including:

  • Clarification of the language of the Act to make enforcement easier
  • Consideration of the appointment of part-time, independent hunt monitors to observe the activities of hunts  on a random basis
  • A Code of Practice for the conduct of hunt activities
  • Consideration of whether vicarious liability is appropriate if an offence is committed
  • Consideration of extending the time limit for bringing prosecutions under the 2002 Act

Accepting the report, Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said: “I’d like to thank Lord Bonomy and his team for examining this legislation. I’d also like to extend thanks to all of those who participated in providing information to allow the report to be put together for our consideration.

“The Scottish government recognised concerns about whether the legislation on fox-hunting is working properly – that is why we asked Lord Bonomy to carry out this detailed work. Back in 2002, Scotland led the way in addressing animal welfare concerns and we remain committed to ensuring the highest levels of welfare for our wild animals.

“We will now carefully consider the findings, with a view to responding in 2017. Any ensuing proposals for legislative change will be subject to the proper consultation processes.”

Welcoming the review and its findings, Robbie Marsland, the director of the League Against Cruel Sports, Scotland, said: “This review set out to evaluate whether the current law banning hunting in Scotland works. Lord Bonomy’s robust and detailed examination clearly shows that it doesn’t, and that he agrees with us and Police Scotland that improvements are essential if it is to stand any chance of fulfilling its purpose of protecting wild animals.

“Lord Bonomy has come up with a set of new recommendations that we believe could severely limit the opportunity of mounted hunts to encourage packs of hounds to chase and kill wild mammals across the Scottish countryside.

“Lord Bonomy and Police Scotland agree there is abuse and exploitation of the current law, which the review proposes to address with robust new legislation and stronger enforcement. This will not only change the face of hunting in Scotland – it sends a powerful signal to Westminster how illegal hunting can be tackled forcefully.”