Hunters Begin Legal Case Against Scottish Ban

gwhunter69

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Hunters Begin Legal Case Against Scottish Ban
By Mike Wendling
CNSNews.com London Bureau Chief
July 02, 2002

London (CNSNews.com) - Proceedings began Tuesday in a legal challenge against Scotland's ban on the traditional sport of foxhunting.

Nine pro-hunting groups and individuals led by the Scottish Countryside Alliance are challenging the ban, passed in February by Scotland's regional parliament.

The petitioners say the legislature overstepped its authority by approving the ban, which will come into force on Aug. 1. Some are also arguing that law deprives them of their right to a livelihood and thus violates the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

Included in the group are hunt clubs, farmers who welcome hunters onto their land to control the fox population and dog and horse trainers whose jobs are in jeopardy because of the new law.

"This is an act that will destroy jobs, communities and livelihoods in the Scottish countryside. It is unfair and discriminates against a law-abiding section of the public," said Allan Murray, director of the Scottish Countryside Alliance. "We believe it violates the ECHR on a number of counts and should be struck down."

Murray said he was optimistic about the group's chances of success.

"We are confident of our case and intend to fight this case vigorously for the sake of rural people in Scotland and all over Britain," he said.

Protesters gathered with posters and a pack of hounds outside the court in Edinburgh before Tuesday's hearing.

The case is one of the biggest challenges so far to the powers exercised by the devolved Scottish parliament, which took over some responsibilities from the central U.K. government in 1999.

Hunting supporters argue that foxhunting using horses and hounds is part of British heritage and makes a significant contribution to the rural economy. Anti-hunting activists, meanwhile, say that the sport is a cruel pastime of the rich.

Yvonne Taylor of the Scottish Campaign Against Hunting With Dogs called the lawsuit "quite futile" and contended that there is nothing in the ECHR that would allow the ban to be struck down.

"The majority of the Scottish people are opposed to the cruel so-called sport of foxhunting," Taylor said.

The British government is currently debating whether to introduce a bill to ban the sport countrywide. In preliminary votes in March, the House of Commons supported a ban but the House of Lords voted in favor of a compromise that would allow hunting to continue under increased regulation.

The decision on whether to introduce legislation to ban or restrict the sport is expected in September.
 

RIFLEMAN

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I am certainly keeping my fingers crossed for some fellow houndhunters over there.  The odds are long but I will hope for the best.
 

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