The use of dogs to control foxes and other wild mammals in Scotland

Closes 15 Dec 2021

Opened 29 Oct 2021


We recognised concerns about whether the legislation that governs the use of dogs to hunt for mammals in Scotland is working properly. That is why we asked the Right Honourable Lord Bonomy to undertake a review to ascertain whether the Protection of Wild Mammals (Scotland) Act 2002 provided a sufficient level of protection for wild mammals, while at the same time allowing effective and humane control of mammals, such as foxes, where necessary.

Lord Bonomy’s report was an important milestone and gave a considered, objective and comprehensive examination of the issues. He outlined a significant number of potential improvements for the conduct of operations under the 2002 Act, and to the Act itself.

On 9 January 2019, following a consultation on Lord Bonomy's recommendations, that ran from October 2017 to January 2018, the then Minister for Rural Affairs and the Natural Environment set out to Parliament proposals for reform, including the implementation of the majority of Lord Bonomy’s recommendations and announced the following further measures:

  • A new general limit of no more than two dogs to be used to flush foxes or other wild mammals from cover
  • Consideration of a licensing scheme permitting more than two dogs to flush foxes or other wild mammals from cover in certain limited circumstances
  • Banning the practice known as “trail hunting” as this poses significant risks for wild mammals

This consultation is seeking views on those proposals.

Read the consultation paper

Why your views matter

We would like to hear from those affected by these proposals, including those involved in land management and predator control, and those with views on wildlife welfare and enforcement.

We want to ensure that decisions on any ensuing reforms to the Protection of Wild Mammals (Scotland) Act 2002 are made with a sound understanding of the issues and implications.

Give us your views


  • Environment and Climate Change
  • Farming and Rural