THE West Dunbartonshire Community Party has backed calls to end the "brutal" and "vicious" practice of fox hunting.

Recommendations made in the Government’s fox hunting legislation review could see the activity banned for good by next Boxing Day.

And the fledgling political party in West Dunbartonshire has echoed calls from the League Against Cruel Sports to outlaw it in 2017.

Two of the biggest fox hunts of the year take place annual, around the country, on Boxing Day and New Year's Day.

Now support is gathering to have the ancient practice consigned to history.

The review into hunting in Scotland, published last month, found there to be considerable law-breaking being committed by hunts under the current ban.

This led Lord Bonomy to make the recommendation that the law should be both clarified, strengthened and properly enforced to close the loopholes currently exploited by hunts to chase and kill foxes and other wild mammals with packs of dogs in Scotland.

Robbie Marsland, the Director of the League Against Cruel Sports, Scotland, said: "The ball is now firmly in the Scottish Government’s court.

"Public opinion in Scotland wants to see fox hunting banned, the Government thought they had banned it but as our evidence, Lord Bonomy and Police Scotland have revealed, hunts are running a coach and horses through the current legislation.

"In short, the law isn’t fit for purpose and, in keeping with the commitments made by the First Minister to strengthen the law if it were necessary, we look to the Government to do that by November 2017 – in time to stop next year’s hunting season."

Last year, League Against Cruel Sports Investigators produced video evidence showing that fox hunting is carrying on in Scotland the same way that it always has, despite the ban.

Mr Marsland continued: "No right thinking person wants to see animals suffer in the way a fox recently hunted in Kilbarchan suffered.

"Its autopsy showed that dogs tore into its flank, through its skin and muscle, exposing its lung. It had suffered ‘significant unnecessary suffering’.

"We have the evidence, an independent review has recommended the law be changed, and now we need the Scottish Government to change the law."

Councillor Jim Bollan, of the West Dunbartonshire Community Party said: "The Community Party fully support the call to the Scottish Government to implement a complete ban on fox hunting which is a cruel premeditated vicious act on a defenceless animal and needs to be stopped as soon as possible.

"To call this brutal act a “sport” is a travesty and needs to be abolished at the first opportunity with heavy penalties imposed for anyone caught fox hunting."

The Environment Secretary, Roseanna Cunningham, has said she will "consider the recommendations" in the recent review and respond.

Following the publication of the review, the League set up an online petition calling on the Environment Secretary to respond to the review in a timely manner and promise to take action. The petition is nearing 11,000 signatures.

To view or sign the petition go to the following link: