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Scottish hunts adapt to new regulation
Scottish hunt
Mounted hunts in Scotland are now licensed.
New regulations on hunting in Scotland haven't hit the hunting community as hard as many people feared.

It could be a useful pointer to what might happen in Devon if a hunting ban came into force.
Watch Janine Jansen's report on how hunting in Scotland has adapted to the new regulation.
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Scotland was the first part of the UK to ban mounted hunting with hounds.

A bill to ban hunting with dogs in Scotland was passed in February 2002.

Since the ban was imposed most mounted hunts in Scotland have become gun packs with hounds used not to kill, but to flush foxes from cover for marksmen to shoot.

Pro-hunters insist the ban has resulted in the loss of jobs in rural communities and claim a rising fox population has led to more lambs and other farm animals being killed.
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Hunts in the South West are waiting to see if the government will opt for a form of licensed hunting or whether it will use the Parliament Act to ban hunting outright.

Scottish hunts are currently operating under special licences after hunting was banned there two years ago.

BBC reporter Janine Jansen has been to Kelso in the Borders to see how the Buccleuch Hunt has adapted.

Traditional hunting was banned two years ago in Scotland when the Protection of Wild Mammals Bill was passed.

It means horses and hounds can be used to flush the fox out into the path of waiting guns. But it is illegal for hounds to actually kill the fox.

Here hunts effectively work as pest control services for farmers and gamekeepers.

In Scotland more than double the number of foxes are now shot.

There are ten main hunts in Scotland. Back in 2002, there were fears they wouldn't survive this change, but they all have.

Hunt supporters say the 'partial' ban has hit them economically, albeit not as badly as feared.

Fewer horses and riders go hunting, and the packs of hounds are smaller.

About half the full-time hunt staff have been paid off. Some horse livery yards have closed, and some blacksmiths have moved away or taken on different work.

Their biggest concern is that they now shoot more than double the number of foxes.

The campaign organisation 'Advocates for Animals' wants the legislation to go further.

It would like to see gun packs made illegal because it's against wild animals being chased and terrified.

It says the job losses are purely anecdotal and believes hunts should pursue drag hunting - where the scent is laid artificially beforehand.

Article first published: 11th November 2004
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