BY NIGEL BEAN
Here are my answers to the Scottish Hunting Consultation:
1.1. Do you think the definition of “to hunt” as provided in the 2002 Act should be more specifically defined?
No, To change the wording is the Scottish Government signing up to the demands of animal rights fundamentalists. The fundamentalists are unhappy because they can’t prove out their money spinning campaigns because they find it difficult to obtain hunting prosecutions. It subsequently follows they can`t derive the pleasure and satisfaction bestowed on them for appearing as positions of authority. In reality the fundamentalists hate with a vengeance country folk and so their actions can be viewed by a stable mind as legalised bullying and harassment of hard working, tax paying, members of the countryside community. Sadly the largely urban based majority SNP Scottish government also hate the country folk and are of the same mind-set as the fundamentalists and are therefore desperate to provide them with the tools in which to carry out a prolonged and sustained attack of harassment and bullying to make country folks lives as miserable as possible. Once the tools have been provided the bullying can start in earnest and the politicians will look the other way and pretend this is just a lawful right to protest.
The current law was well written and carefully thought out by Politicians not looking to satisfy the fundamentalist ideology of those closely associated with a cultist fad diet. It allows for hunting to be carried out as a pure pest control mechanism as is the desired intention of the original legislation. The law therefore recognises a combination of stalking, searching and flushing is needed to locate a fox. The law rightly recognises hounds hunt by scent and it is the scent that leads them to the fox. Therefore if scenting conditions are good, hounds can pick up the scent of a fox from where it has been scavenging at dawn. They will then run at full cry in some cases for a mile around the fox’s territory to where the fox is laid up. The fox hears the approaching hounds barking and will slip away, hopefully into the path of waiting guns. If the wood or covert has an adjoining hedge line the fox will invariably attempt to leave alongside the hedge as this will give them cover in the open, so logically a gun is placed near the hedge line.
However the strength of scent can change considerably even during the course of the day and this will have a bearing on how long the hounds spend stalking, searching or flushing a fox. It could be a stop start affair taking much longer before the fox is forced to move out of cover. In cases of there being no scent then the hounds will make a rustling noise as they search out the fox in tight formation (known as a level pack) this again will force the fox out into the open for a shot to be made. This explains why you need a pack and not just two hounds for effective pest control. Foxes lay up in dense undergrowth and you need a wall of rustling on poor scenting days to force the fox from cover. It follows the vast majority of cases the nature of hunting in dense undergrowth it would be foolish to attempt to distinguish between stalking, searching and flushing they all come under the umbrella of hunting.
1.2, Do you agree with Lord Bonomy’s suggestion that the word “deliberately” in section 1(1) serves no useful purpose?
NO, The word deliberate has purposeful meaning when applied to the current law and can be used to prove if someone has breached the law. Two scenarios exist that can determine if the law has been broken. It’s worth remembering the current legislation states a fox can be flushed until it’s safe to take a shot.
The fox hears the sound of the approaching hounds speaking to the line (barking) and gets up to move off from where he is laid up. If the fox breaks cover and a gun has been in the correct position then the fox is shot.
What can happen now the gun wasn’t positioned to get a shot off safely and the fox slips past?
The fox is now in open country and at last can be seen by more people including anti-hunting fundamentalists acting out fantasies of positions of authority. The fox now in the open is most likely to run a wide arc and return to is territory from where it was laid up for the day. The huntsman knows this so allows the hounds to remain on the scent meanwhile the gun can take up a new position to take a shot knowing the fox will swing back around. All within the law, shot as soon and safely as possible. If the huntsmen can get close up behind the fox with hounds and press hard he can get the fox to run in a straight line and away from the gun, this is deliberate hunting. Alternatively if the fox is allowed to run back around to its territory on several occasions this is deliberate hunting. This is why ‘deliberate’ should remain in the legislation and is key if you want pure pest control with the chase and kill by hounds kept to a minimum.
*While the fox has not run far before being shot or swinging back around to its territory, the following members of the mounted field will have been taken over jumps and ditches on the longest route possible by a field master that knows the country. Fundamentalists looking to exaggerate their cause for financial benefit trick people and Politicians into believing the fox has been pursued by the mounted field the whole distance they travelled.
1.3 Do you think the Act would be clearer if “searching” was included alongside “stalking” and “flushing” in section 2(1)?
No, Searching comes under the umbrella of stalking, as mentioned earlier hounds hunt by scent, they don’t get a visual on the fox until they are very close. They can be put into a woodland and immediately find scent and start stalking the fox and bark a notification to the huntsman. Almost immediately they can lose scent and start searching again only to find the scent within seconds. They are so closely intertwined only someone planning untold mischief by vexatious litigation would want to separate the two.
1.4. Is “searching” relevant to any other subsections?
No, It should only be considered under the umbrella of stalking.
1.5 Do you think the Act would be improved if it included definitions of
“to stalk” Please answer Yes ☐ or No ☐NO
“to search” Please answer Yes ☐ or No ☐NO
“to flush” Please answer Yes ☐ or No ☐NO
1.6, What elements would you wish to see included in these definitions?
None, the public’s hard earned money should not be wasted facilitating fundamentalists who are upset they can’t get prosecutions. The public in turn don’t expect a civilised government to waste their money looking for ways to help facilitate fundamentalists.
1.7 Do you think section 2(3) should be framed more narrowly to remove any overlap with section 2(1) by removing reference to using a dog under control to flush a fox from an enclosed space within rocks or other secure cover above ground?
I cannot see any hindrance whatsoever in the overlap, it’s necessary to mention ‘below ground’ in 2(3) to infer terrier work and ‘to flush a fox from an enclosed space within rocks or other secure cover’ further reiterates the position that that is also permissible with the use of terriers. Any removal of information will seized upon by obsessed fundamentalists and they will argue ‘below’ ground is no longer covered in the legislation.
1.8. Do you think that the various areas of overlap and inconsistency between sections 2(1), 2(3), 3(a) and 5 of the Act should be addressed in the manner suggested?
No, the original legislation was written by people that didn’t have an agenda to prevent others from going hunting. They wrote the legislation to prevent a prolonged chase and then kill by hounds with the knowledge hounds hunt by scent. So the legislation should remain as it is currently written.
1.9. Do you think the “lawful means” mentioned in section 2(2) should be specified?
NO, The legislation states what is lawful in the above paragraph……”but only if that person acts to ensure that, once the target wild mammal is found or emerges from cover, it is shot, or killed by a bird of prey, once it is safe to do so”
2.1 Do you agree with Lord Bonomy’s suggestion that the legislation should impose a restriction in line with the Code of Conduct of the National Working Terrier Federation that, wherever possible and practical, only one terrier should be entered to ground at a time?
No, The target of this legislation is the mounted hunts and their terrier man will already comply with the National Working Terrier Federation’s code of conduct. Mounted hunts only use one dog below ground.
3.1 Do you agree with Lord Bonomy’s suggestions which seek to provide greater clarity on the question of whether someone is hunting illegally (by finding ways to clarify the element of intent)?
Can you suggest ways in which we might do this?
NO, Please refer to (1.2) the current legislation already provides clarity, if a huntsmen is seen up with the hounds and pressing a running fox in a straight line then he is hunting illegally. If a fox is continuously pushed into a wide arc and back to his territory this can be considered illegal. These are the only two scenarios that should ever be considered.
4.1 Do you agree that we should explore a new vicarious liability provision whereby a landowner who permits a person or persons to deploy dogs to stalk, search for and flush wild mammals over their land is guilty of an offence in the event that someone involved in such activity commits an offence?
No, another waste of public money to help provide fundamentalists with a legislative means to bully landowners they view as rich and privileged. I can see why the SNP would want this included.
The whole point of hunting with dogs is to provide a free pest control service to farmers. This means some might want to get on with other aspects of farming and not necessarily be present during the pest control exercise. Would you expect a farmer to employ a marksman with a rifle to kill foxes then sit up the whole night with him? So how can they then be liable? There has to be an element of trust especially when considering the element of doubt comes from fundamentalists looking to make money from a cause.
5.1 Do you agree with the proposition that the onus should lie upon an accused to establish that their conduct falls within one of the exceptions provided in the 2002 Act?
That’s just a frivolous suggestion to attempt to bring more people to court wasting more money and police time. They would report every hunt to the police every weekend if that suggestion is taken up. Moreover, one of the principal foundations of our justice system is that the accused is innocent until proven guilty.
6.1 Do you agree with Lord Bonomy’s recommendation that the time limit for prosecution under the 2002 Act be extended
I don’t agree with Lord Bonomy. But that’s not really what’s going on here though is it? I think it’s time for the Scottish government to stop pretending they are serving the nation’s best interest by offering public consultations. The reality is the SNP led Scottish Government have already made up their minds what they want to do and are using normally good-intentioned consultations and reviews to find an excuse to support their world view and force through legislation to impress their chums in the animal rights brigade. They fixed the recent circus consultation (See Note* below) and review in the exact same manner. It starts with a review prompted by the belief their data to support their world view is wholesome and up to date in its conclusions. The data they are relying on then gets debunked as conflicting evidence pours in. So a Public Consultation is held in the deluded belief 85% of the population vehemently support the animal rights fundamentalist and the Politicians in their opinions. Only that 85% also came from a well-known and well documented biased polling method known as quota sampling. So when the consultation occurs it’s usually just a couple of thousand respondents out of a target population of 5 million. In the case of the circus consultation they realised the animal rights groups had more numbers with friends and family and so the quality of responses was irrelevant, it was just an opinion poll. As can be shown from the Scottish Governments own website.
However, in this consultation it’s very likely the pro hunters will have more numbers regardless of the pathetic attempts by fundamentalists to raise the public awareness of the consultation by a constant stream of fake news stories in the press. The opinion poll consultation will be dropped in favour of the claimed 85% in favour of a ban taken from a biased national poll a few years back. Now throw into the pot the fact the SNP have recently voted on an anti-hunting policy, the whole exercise has been a show in democracy from a banana republic.
Note* – The information that prompted the circus wild animal bill to be put through the Scottish Parliament was contained in a review conducted by Professor Stephen Harris. This was then renamed the Dorning Review because it was debunked under the name of Harris in Late December 2016 by Prof Ted friend. Jo Dorning, who was the hired help to Professor Harris, only finished her Phd in autumn 2016, the report was handed over to the Welsh Government in the winter of 2016. The British Veterinary Association now ship the review to Scotland and refer to it as the Dorning Review. Hilariously Roseanna Cunningham MSP falls hook line and sinker for the ruse and can be found on various websites referring to a review from the ‘academic Jo Dorning. The British Veterinary Association smother themselves in sleaze as their campaigns policy is apparently based on an ‘evidence based policy’, in the next breath they are informing people they want a ban on pure ethics alone. This, by the way, is because the first ever in-depth impartial study into the welfare of wild animals in circus conducted by Martha Kiley-Worthington in 1990 found the welfare of circus animals to be no different to our pets. The RSPCA tried to bully Martha to change her conclusions but she refused, so hey presto, they simply change the motive for a ban away from welfare to one based on pure ethics.
Put together with the assistance of Paul Read.