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Use of a dog below ground in England and Wales

A legally enforceable  code of practice and further guidelines produced by the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) on the use of a terrier to flush foxes from underground have been approved by Defra and come into force as part of the Hunting Act. The “gamekeeper’s exemption” to the Act allows pest control necessary for shooting to continue.

In order to protect birds intended for shooting, a single terrier may be used underground to flush foxes to be shot. The Code of Practice has been drawn up by BASC and approved by Margaret Beckett, the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. It has the force of law under the Hunting Act.

The Code is supported by a detailed good practice guide, also produced by BASC. This is regarded as a sound basis for carrying out this activity and observance of the code is recognised by Defra as a good indicator of a person’s commitment to responsible gamekeeping.

Christopher Graffius, BASC Director of Communications, said “This code has been carefully drafted to allow pest control for shooting to continue effectively and legally. Its adoption and publication follows extensive consultation between Defra, shooting organisations and animal welfare groups.”


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