Sunday, February 13, 2005
Three Years After Scotland's Ban
On February 13, 2002, after months of passionate debate, the Scottish Parliament voted 83 to 36 to ban fox hunting with dogs.
Or at least that is what was reported.
Now, three years later, not one single hunt has ended, no one has been successfully prosecuted for riding hounds to fox, and terrier work is more common than ever.
One thing has changed, however.
Now all foxes are killed, since the law requires that all foxes that are bolted by terriers or chased by hounds be shot on sight.
When the history of "the law of unintended consequences" is written, the Scottish fox hunting ban will, no doubt, get its own chapter. It was a stupid and un-needed law, and it was poorly written to boot.
Now having done something stupid once, the U.K. is going to do something twice by implementing another version of "the ban" in England and Wales.
Already law enforcement officials are saying they do not know how to enforce it (how do you lock up 200 horses?) and that they are not quite sure what is being banned (how does a drag hunt look different from the old non-drag hunt?).
Terrier work is allowed so long as there is written permission from a land owner who wants to control fox in order to protect bird populations that are to be shot. One has to wonder if it is OK to protect birds that are not to be shot?
As noted, it is a stupid law and poorly written. Something this poorly crafted and this unpopular is not going to work.