There she is. A young fox breaking cover and running for her life. A few minutes later, the dogs appear, tails up, heads down. They have the scent now, and, unless someone does something soon, they will find the fox and kill her, they’ll tear her apart, they’ll rip her to pieces, even though we all know what the law of Scotland says about this: hunting with dogs is banned.

Fortunately, there is someone here who can put a stop to it: an investigator who’s been watching the whole thing from behind a line of trees. He steps out into the open and speaks to one of the men who’s supposed to be controlling the dogs. Suddenly, the atmosphere changes. The hunters call out to the pack and blow their horns and get the hounds under control. The fox has escaped. This time.

The investigator, who works for the League Against Cruel Sports, has seen it all before. He has been working on investigations into animal cruelty for 30 years and I’ve been out a few times with him on his undercover work. It is tough going. One time, we had to be up at 4.30am. We wear green and brown to blend into the countryside and prevent us being seen. It’s often cold, wet, and miserable. And it leaves me angry and appalled that the law on hunting with dogs is being broken in Scotland so openly, so brutally, and so brazenly.

I can’t tell you the name of the investigator for obvious reasons – he has been threatened with violence and his work would be compromised if the men and women who hunt foxes knew who he was. But I can tell you what he’s seen. He has seen many, many foxes running for their lives, like that vixen near Jedburgh. He has seen foxes being disembowelled alive. He’s seen a gang of men dig down into a den for an hour just for the privilege of letting their dogs tear a fox apart.

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All of it is against the law. In 2002, the Protection of Wild Mammals (Scotland) Act banned the hunting of foxes with dogs, apart from an exemption for the purposes of pest control: according to the law, hunters can still use dogs to flush foxes out of cover so they can be shot. What this means is that, as soon as a fox breaks cover, the dogs should be called back. Either the fox is shot at that point or it gets away. The dogs cannot continue to chase it and if they do, it is a breach of the law.

But let’s compare that to the hunt in the Borders, shall we? There are several men around, one on a quadbike, several on horseback; none of them appear to be carrying guns, which you would expect to see if they were obeying the law. We see the fox break cover and about five minutes later we see the hounds following the scent. We do not hear anyone attempting to control the dogs or anyone calling them back, until the investigator steps forward.

What the hunters say in response is that the public is being misled by anti-hunters. When I asked them about the incident in the Borders, the Jed Forest Hunt said there were guns present. Their spokesman at the Scottish Countryside Alliance also told me they were operating a legal pest control service in compliance with the 2002 Act, whereas the League Against Cruel Sports was using the deceitful practice of hiding in bushes and heavily edited footage to suggest illegal practices. The public are being deceived, said the spokesman.

However, I’ve seen the unedited footage. I have been out with the investigator on other investigations and I know what my common sense is telling me: the law on hunting is being broken in Scotland, regularly, openly and blatantly. As for the men and women who do it, the investigator says this of them: “They are setting a pack of dogs on to wild animals; it’s like hare coursing. They may dress a little better and they may ride horses, but that’s the only difference. When you see them out in the field, it’s savage.”

What’s galling for anyone who cares about putting a stop to fox hunting is that the response to the savagery has been spinelessness and a weak law that’s failing to protect wild animals. The Bonomy Review into fox hunting in 2016 said quite clearly that there was evidence that flushing foxes from cover was being used as a decoy for the continuation of traditional hunting practices, and last year the Scottish Government said it would put a stop to it and would bring forward a bill to strengthen the legislation.

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But nothing has happened. There has been no real support either, as far as I can see, for the Green MSP Alison Johnstone’s private member’s bill which would do what the Government says it wants to do. The Government could fast-track that bill. It hasn’t.

So what we need – quickly, before many more foxes are killed by dogs – is a law that deals with the situation as it really is. Men and women are out there, in Scotland, in the open, two or three times a week, for months on end, hunting and killing foxes with dogs, which means the law needs to ban the use of dogs altogether. Such a ban would also help expose the hunters’ claims that their aim is to control foxes. This is not about control. This is a sport. It’s a hobby – a savage, bloody and barbaric hobby.

What the Government needs to say to these people is: you cannot pursue your grubby little hobby here and we will pass a law to make sure you can’t. In the meantime, we are relying on the anti-hunters, and the investigators, and anyone with compassion, to keep up the pressure. There is hope of change in Scotland. But all I can hear right now is the sound of the horns and the call of the hounds. And all I can see is that young fox, eyes wide, running for her life.