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  1. ITV Report

Borders hunt members on trial charged with deliberately hunting fox

Photo: PA

Two members of a Borders hunt have gone on trial accused of breaching Scotland’s fox hunting legislation.

41-year-old Timothy Allen and 28-year-old Shaun Anderson, from the Buccleuch Hunt, are charged with deliberately hunting a fox with a pack of dogs.

The alleged incident is said to have taken place near Whitton Farm, Morebattle, on 20 December.

Allen and Anderson from Melrose, confirmed they were adhering to their not guilty pleas.

Director of the League Against Cruel Sports Scotland, Robbie Marsland, gave evidence and said he felt the legislation needed strengthened in Scotland.

He had hired a team of field workers who would secretly film the 10 regular hunts in Scotland "to check their patterns of behaviour".

Mr Marsland said he suspected loopholes in the legislation were being exploited to allow traditionalist fox hunting to take place and that they wanted to gather as much evidence as possible to convince the Scottish Government to strengthen the legislation.

He added that his investigators had attended around 20 hunts during the season, which runs from October to February, and on eight occasions they had reported incidents to the police.

Farmer Thomas Edgar, 49, who runs Whitton Farm, confirmed he had been contacted by Allen from the Buccleuch Hunt about coming onto his land for the purposes of fox control.

Asked how many lambs he lost a year to foxes he replied:

It won't be less than 100 a year. Sometimes it is more than that. They are pretty persistent."

There are financial implications and it is pretty devastating for the sheep."

– Thomas Edgar, Whitton Farm

It will be the latest challenge to the Protection of Wild Mammals Act 2002, which was recently subject to a review by Lord Bonomy who made a number of recommendations for changes.

The main purpose of the Act is to ban the deployment of dogs to chase and kill wild mammals.

However it also provides a number of exceptions which allow the limited use of dogs for certain situations and the fox to be dispatched by a gun.

The trial is expected to last for three days.