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Tougher laws against fox hunting with dogs in Scotland backed by MSPs

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MSPs have voted in favour of new legislation which limits hunting with packs of dogs in Scotland. The Scottish Government said tougher laws were required to stop illegal hunts 20 years after a ban on fox hunting was first put in place.The Hunting with Dogs Bill aims to close loopholes which allow the practice of killing wild mammals - including foxes, rabbits and hares - with packs of dogs.

It replaces a previous law passed in 2002 and means hunters will no longer be able to use packs of hounds to flush out wild mammals unless they have a licence.The original legislation allowed dogs to flush foxes as long as they were then shot and providing the hunt was to protect livestock or ground-nesting birds.

But animal rights organisations claimed the law was regularly being exploited.The new law means no more than two dogs can be used to stalk or flush out animals from cover unless a licence has been granted.

The law will also prohibit trail hunting where dogs follow an animal-based scent.Mairi McAllan, the environment minister, said: "The chasing and killing of a wild mammal, with a dog - for sport or otherwise - has no place in modern Scotland.

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