Iain Macwhirter Iain Macwhirter

Humza’s humiliating XL Bully U-turn

(Photos: Getty / Stock)

Humza Yousaf has just executed an embarrassing U-turn and effectively banned XL Bully dogs in line with England and Wales. This has inevitably unleashed a pack of bad canine puns about the SNP making a dog’s breakfast of devolution. We always thought Humza Yousaf was barking, now we know. Boom boom. 

This episode is another botched exercise in cross-border grievance mongering

Laughter aside, this episode is another botched exercise in cross-border grievance mongering, something at which the SNP used to be so adept. When the UK government announced last September that there was to be a ban selling or breeding these aggressive animals, following a spate of attacks on people, Mr Yousaf said: not so fast. Scotland wasn’t about jump to the UK government’s tune in outlawing maligned canines.

The Community Safety Minister, Siobhian Brown, wrote to the UK government in November ‘advising’ that a ban would not be introduced in Scotland by the deadline of 31 December. ‘We don’t think [a ban] is needed’ said Mr Yousaf earlier this month, ‘given the strict regime we have in place.’ Scotland you see is a tolerant land and upholds the principle of ‘deed not breed’. Canine inclusion if you will. The Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) doesn’t agree with indiscriminate banning of breeds either. 

There is actually some confusion about exactly what an American XL Bully is since, technically, it isn’t a recognised breed, just a very aggressive blunt-faced beast with 20 inch shoulders and ferocious jaws. If you see one you know one.

By Christmas, XL Bullies were crossing the Scottish borders in large numbers to escape the imposition of the UK ban. One breeder reportedly transported 30 of them in one go. Glasgow woman Kerryanne Shaw, who runs the ‘All Bullie Charity Rescue’, announced plans to set up an XL Bully sanctuary in Dundee.

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Written by
Iain Macwhirter

Iain Macwhirter is a former BBC TV presenter and was political commentator for The Herald between 1999 and 2022. He is an author of Road to Referendum and Disunited Kingdom: How Westminster Won a Referendum but Lost Scotland.

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