On Thursday 15th June, MSPs debated the largely unknown topic of ‘stink pits’ – which are piles of dead and rotting animal carcasses dumped on the ground and surrounded by snares to capture other animals, which are attracted by the smell of rotting meat. They are used mainly by gamekeepers on shooting estates to kill predators.

The debate was brought to the Chamber by SNP MSP for Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale, Christine Grahame, who also convenes Holyrood’s Cross Party Group on Animal Welfare.

SNP MSP for Cunninghame South, Ruth Maguire, is a long-standing proponent of animal welfare – speaking out against fox-hunting, snaring, and illegal puppy trafficking, as well as being the Scottish Species Champion for the hedgehog, since becoming an MSP.

In Thursday’s debate, Ruth Maguire supported the stance of trusted animal welfare organisations, such as the Scottish SSPCA and the League Against Cruel Sports – who are unanimous in their calls for a ban on stink pits.

Speaking in the debate, Ruth said:

“I only found out about the existence of stink pits very recently, and accidentally, as I was doing some research in advance of the recent debate on snares.

If my constituents were appalled by the indiscriminate and cruel nature of snares, then wait till they get a load of stink pits – which are even more indiscriminate, even more cruel, and, frankly, disgusting.

It is shocking that there is currently no legislation or regulations covering stink put usage in Scotland or elsewhere in the UK.

But neither do I think that any legislation or regulation could sanitise or condone the continuing use of stink pits. It is my personal opinion that they should be banned.

Trusted Animal welfare organisations are unanimous in their calls for such a ban: from the Scottish SSPCA, to the League Against Cruel Sports, and OneKind.

I appreciate there’s big money in countryside sports and its advocates have loud and powerful voices but when it comes to animal welfare I will stand with those who protect animals not those who profit from their suffering.

Stink pits stink – and it’s time for them to go.”