FOI reference: FOI/18/00031
Date received: 27 December 2017
Date responded: 8 February 2018
Information on how many registered hunts there are in Scotland, how many foxes have been killed by hunts (by shooting) as per the 2002 Protection of Wild Mammals Act since 2002 and how many foxes have been killed by hunts (by means other than shooting) as per the 2002 Protection of Wild Mammals Act since 2002.
I sought clarification from you on 15 January on the scope of your request and also advised that we are unlikely to hold any information on registered hunts beyond that already published here: http://www.gov.scot/Publications/2016/11/9965. You may also be interested in the written submissions received in the preparation of that report by Lord Bonomy which are published here: http://www.gov.scot/Publications/2016/10/4011
You responded by confirming that the information you desired related to established mounted fox hound packs as well as fox control clubs to which the Scottish Government provides some financial support under the Fox Control Programme, and you extended your request to ask for information on how much money the Scottish government paid each year (starting from 2002) to these clubs. Because of the need to seek clarification and the subsequent broadening of the scope of your request, the deadline was extended to 13 February.
I enclose a copy of some of the information you requested at Annex A.
While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance the Scottish Government does not have some of the information you have requested. Our records for the Fox Control Programme go back to 2013 and contain information on numbers of foxes killed but not the method of killing. Therefore we are refusing your request under the exception at regulation 10(4)(a) of the EIRs. The reasons why that exception applies are explained below.
Reasons for not providing information
(i) The Scottish Government does not have the information
Under the terms of the exception at regulation 10(4)(a) of the EIRs (information not held), the Scottish Government is not required to provide information which it does not have. The Scottish Government only requires information on the number of foxes killed under the Fox Control Programme.
This exception is subject to the 'public interest test'. Therefore, taking account of all the circumstances of this case, we have considered if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exception. We have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exception. While we recognise that there may be some public interest in information about the numbers of foxes killed in Scotland and the method of killing, clearly we cannot provide information which we do not hold.
The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at http://www.gov.scot/foi-responses
Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000
The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House