Leading animal protection charity OneKind has welcomed today’s guilty verdict in the Jedburgh fox hunting trial.
Jedforest Hunt members Johnathan Riley, 24, and 66-year-old John Clive Richardson were both found guilty of hunting a fox with dogs on farmland near Jedburgh in February 2016 following a trial at Jedburgh Sheriff Court.
They are the first huntsman to be convicted of an offence under the Protection of Wild Mammals (Scotland) Act since it was introduced in 2002.
OneKind Director Harry Huyton said:
“This is an important and welcome verdict. We hope it sends a clear message to all Scottish hunts that they must operate within the law.”
The Scottish Government will imminently consult on the review of the Protection of Wild Mammals Act. They have also recently appointed retired Deputy Chief Constable Ruaraidh Nicolson to lead a stakeholder group to develop a new code of practice for hunting and to consider the feasibility of monitoring hunts.
Harry Huyton commented:
“Throughout this lengthy trial, the accused and witnesses from the hunting fraternity were adamant that the hunt was operating within the exemptions permitted in the law.
The case has clearly demonstrated that the hunts are exploiting a loophole that allows pest control, continuing to hunt much as they did before the ban. We hope that the Scottish Government will pay close attention to this judgement and ensure that its review closes these loopholes and introduces a real hunting ban.”
The trial heard from investigators from the League Against Cruel Sports who had filmed two incidents of a fox being pursued by 34 hounds on open ground. The footage showed the fox disappearing out of view into covered ground.
Harry Huyton continued:
“OneKind congratulates the League Against Cruel Sports for exposing this criminal behaviour in the Scottish Countryside”
Notes to editors
- OneKind is a Scottish animal protection charity working to end cruelty to Scotland’s animals.
- Details of the Scottish Government review of the Protection of Wild Mammals Act (2002) are available here