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More foxes are now killed in Scotland, after traditional Fox Hunting was banned, than were killed previous to the ban.

How has this come about? The answer is that the Protection of Wild Mammals (Scotland) Act 2002 means that foxes in Scotland can still be chased by hounds and the hounds can still be followed on horseback.

However, the chase must be done in such a way that the fox is flushed out into waiting guns, and not caught by the hounds.

As a result of such firepower, the fox stands little chance of escape. If wounded by the guns, the fox can then legally be pursued by the hounds, and sometimes the hounds find it and kill it and sometimes they don't -- in which case the fox will die a slow, painful death, including gangrene infection.

Previously, strong foxes could succeed in escaping from the hounds, while weaker foxes were caught and killed. Now, with the presence of guns, both strong and weak foxes are far less likely to escape. The killings are indiscriminate and the strong foxes are killed just as easily as the weak ones.

Indeed, a colleague involved in hunting told us that with this method, "the hunts are now killing at least twice as many foxes as before."

There is no quota on the number of foxes which can be killed.

Another reason for the rise in fox killings is because previously a farmer who may have suffered a fox attack on lambs or chickens, would have decided merely to "leave it to the Hunt to deal with". Now more people choose just to kill the fox themselves.

350 Scottish hounds killed after ban
By Tom Peterkin, Scotland Political Correspondent
Saturday 18 September 2004
The Daily Telegraph (Scottish edition)
Original here

More than 350 hounds have been put down as a result of the foxhunting ban in Scotland, it emerged yesterday.

The Scottish Countryside Alliance disclosed the scale of the dog cull caused by Lord Watson of Invergowrie's Bill designed to outlaw hunting, which became law two years ago.

It made it illegal for dogs to chase and despatch foxes, but they can still be used to flush wild mammals from cover towards waiting guns. Hounds can be used to kill a fox only if it has been wounded by gunshot.

Prior to the ban, there were about 1,100 hounds in Scotland, kennelled mainly in the Borders and Dumfries and Galloway.

The SCA said it had been necessary to cut the number of dogs by half because of the ban, which has cost rural communities an estimated £4 million a year.

Around 200 of the hounds were drafted out to packs in England, Wales and Europe, but another 350 were culled.

The use of shotguns to control foxes in Scotland has led to the number being killed to rise from 540 per year to 900.

All 10 hunts in Scotland are still working, but their membership has fallen by about a half.

Allan Murray, the SCA director, said: "Huntsmen never like putting their animals down. It is like putting down your best friend. But in many cases they have to be destroyed, because they don't make good pets."

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