‘THE result of the motion 7600 in the name of Mairi McAllan is Yes, 90, and No, 30. There were no abstentions. The motion is therefore agreed and the Hunting with Dogs Scotland Bill is passed.”

That was the announcement of Presiding Officer Alison Johnstone as a round of applause rang out across the oak and sycamore desks of the Scottish Parliament’s debating chamber, 20 years after the first bid to outlaw the hunting of foxes and other wild mammals with packs of hounds – with MSPs backing the move hoping this will be watertight legislation.

Not all are so optimistic that it will. The Hunting with Dogs Scotland Bill replaced the Protection of Wild Mammals (Scotland) Act, which limited the use of dogs to a set of exceptional criteria including livestock protection, pest control and the condition that animals are shot after being flushed from cover.

The Scottish Government’s rationale behind the statutes has been the prevention of bloodsports’ cruelty and its damaging effect on wildlife. The 2002 ban was highly controversial and met stiff resistance from the hunting lobby.

Protests organised by the Scottish Countryside Alliance (SCA) and Rural Rebels were so fierce on the day the act passed that police numbers had to be increased outside the Holyrood parliament.

Lawmakers led by Environment Minister Mairi McAllan sought to improve the prohibition by tightening its restrictions, closing loopholes and clarifying its wording.

Tuesday’s bill introduced a two-dog cap for chasing animals out of cover and made trail hunting – the use of a prey’s scent to guide hounds – illegal, with few exceptions. MSPs also added a contentious licensing system which allows the use of dog packs for “legitimate wildlife management”. If, for instance, foxes have threatened a farmer’s lambs or an invasive species has disrupted biodiversity, as in the case of stoats on Orkney, then it is potentially fair game.

This represented some continuity with the last act by recognising that farmers and land managers might have valid reasons for unleashing their hounds.

McAllan quickly took to Twitter following the vote to say she was “delighted” at the legislation passing, describing it as a “special personal moment”, being her first bill as a minister and MSP.

This “significant step forward” is not without its critics. Though more than 84% of Scots want a comprehensive ban, the successful motion has swiftly courted its own wave of controversy.

Unsurprisingly, the SCA wasted no time in firing out their condemnation: “This process has taken over seven years and is both unjustified and unnecessary. The Scottish Government’s own review found that restrictions on the use of packs of dogs could compromise fox control and put both farmers’ livelihoods and threatened wildlife at risk.”

The Scottish Greens are in government with the SNP, but concerned emerges from those quarters, too.

READ MORE: Daily Telegraph attempts to clear Prince Andrew's name with front page

Greens MSP Arianne Burgess said: “The licensing system could become a smokescreen for hunt packs to apply for a licence to take care of a problem on a farm but just use it as a way to continue bloodsports.”

Whilst the MSP for the Highlands and Islands welcomed the bill, she had approached its passage since February last year from a distinctly different place to McCallan and the SNP. The green member of the Rural Affairs, Islands and Natural Environment Committee had attempted in vainto dislodge the licensing system with five different amendments.

Burgess continued: “What we’re trying to do as greens ultimately is to stop bloodsports. The minister did say at times that this legislation was not about stopping sporting but about the way in which people hunt with dogs.”

Not only have licensed hunts escaped prohibition – other cruel sports have remained fair play too.

Robbie Marsland, the director of the League Against Cruel Sports, celebrated the “landmark” legislation before sketching out a path ahead: “My aim was always for the League to finish our work successfully on hunting with dogs and then turn our attention to what the Revive Coalition describes as the circle of destruction that surrounds grouse shooting.

READ MORE: Stephen Flynn has set the tone for how to turn up heat on Tories

“The use of medicated grit, the burning of the heather and the killing of hundreds of thousands of animals.”

Bob Elliot, director of the Edinburgh-based animal protection charity OneKind, voiced a similar vision: “Today we have a positive step towards wild animals finally obtaining the respect and basic protections that they deserve.”

He added: “A complete shift in mindset in how we view wild animals – as sentient individuals rather than ‘quarry’ – is desperately needed and today’s passing of the bill shows we’re heading in the right direction.”

But perhaps the greatest cause for consternation has surfaced around those set to evade the force of the law.

Nestled deep in the statute book is a case study in what Burgess flagged as “loopholes for the privileged few”.

Section 25 of the bill has stated that law enforcement must gain permission from the Crown Estate before entering its land.

The Scottish Greens had already warned back in December that this would stymie evidence-gathering for suspected illegal hunting.

Anti-monarchist group Labour for a Republic told the Sunday National: “This bill is there to protect Scotland’s wildlife and to prevent unnecessary cruelty to animals – it’s staggering that the royals, who try to present themselves as being on the side of the environment, have decided that the legislation will not apply to them.”