Scottish National Party (SNP) Environment Minister Roseanna Cunningham proposes to tighten the screws on foxhunters in that country. Scotland was the first nation in the UK to pass a hunting act affecting foxhunting. Now the SNP wants to tighten the act with measures that border on the oppressive, if not the actual contravention of basic human rights.
Cunningham proposes two measures that, if passed, could spell the demise in Scotland of any sporting activity that even remotely resembles foxhunting: (1) Make the landowner criminally liable for any offences that may occur on his/her property, and (2) reverse the burden of proof to the defendant rather than the prosecutor, so that the accused hunt club would have the burden to prove that it complied with the law.
A reversal of the burden of proof not only contravenes Article 11 of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights, it flies in the face of legal principles followed since the sixth century’s Justinian Code, and the twelfth century’s English Common Law.
Notwithstanding these recommended breaches of basic human rights, pro-hunting organizations and animal rights organizations alike have welcomed the opportunity to clarify the present Hunting Act. The Scottish Countryside Alliance welcomed the chance to work with the Scottish Government and Police Scotland on the new code; and the League Against Cruel Sports Scotland also welcomed the chance to make the law “clearer and more suited to its intended purpose.”
Apparently both sides believe they have something to gain by negotiating the proposals. As this writer sees it, the downside is considerably more terminal for foxhunters in light of national polls.
For more details, click for Simon Johnson’s complete article in The Telegraph.
Posted February 6, 2017