A TWEEDDALE MSP has joined forces with animal welfare charity to celebrate after plans to strengthen the hunting ban were announced.

Christine Grahame, MSP for Tweeddale, Lauderdale and Midlothian South teamed up with the charity League Against Cruel Sports and mascot Fergus the Fox to mark the occasion, almost 15 years since the ban was introduced.

The legislation, which came into force in 2002, protects wild mammals from being chased and hunted for sport. The Scottish Government recently announced it will consult on strengthening the Protection of Wild Mammals (Scotland) Act following a review by Lord Bonomy. 

A campaign by the charity to strengthen the Act has been supported by 15,000 members of the public who have signed an online petition.

Christine Grahame, who is also Convener of the Scottish Parliament’s Cross Party Group on Animal Welfare said: “I’m very pleased to stand by Fergus the Fox and back the findings of the independent Government report that calls for the hunting ban to be strengthened.

“I’ve been campaigning on this issue for many years now and the need for additional safeguards in legislation has been raised with me many times. 

“I look forward to the outcome of the current consultation, however in the interim it’s vital that our communities work together to ensure legislation is adhered to and no animals suffer unnecessarily.”

Robbie Marsland, Director of League Against Cruel Sports Scotland, added: “Scotland is a nation of animal lovers and this is clearly demonstrated by the overwhelming support for our campaign to strengthen the law which was meant to prevent wild mammals being chased and killed for sport. 

“We warmly welcome the Scottish Government’s commitment to consult on this, along with the support of MSPs who have joined Fergus the Fox to mark the fifteenth anniversary of the Act and give their backing to the campaign.”

For more information, visit: www.league.org.uk.