FROM grouse-baggers to tally-ho toffs, Mr Fox has every reason to be cunning. Thanks to proposed legislation by the Scottish Government he will no longer face death by strangulation. Friday’s National reports “Ministers opt to go ahead with a full ban on snares”. Surely this is a humane attitude and not a challenge to the conservation of many species already heading towards extinction?

READ MORE: Scottish ministers reject call for snare licensing scheme for full ban

Overall biodiversity in Scotland, and indeed worldwide, has a far greater threat today than control of our fox population, and that balance is fast changing.

The old-fashioned keeper in plus-four tweeds who lived by providing “sport” for the gentry is also disappearing. A new style of gamekeeper is emerging who avoids the horror of snare usage, sees the wider picture, protects the habitat, and concentrates on the wellbeing of all the wildlife on his beat. This piece of legislation is only one important instance of Holyrood leading by example. There will be many more to come in an independent Scottish nation.

Iain R Thomson