If your pastime was declining with popularity year after year and a recent YouGov poll had shown that only 23% of the public supported what you do would you think that was “great news”?
Then the chances are you are Alastair Balmain, Editor of Shooting Times magazine. He boasts that the figures are “healthy” and that “nearly a quarter” of the population support shooting live animals for sport.
I’m not sure if Alastair was supporting the Alternative Vote in the recent referendum, but under no electoral system does 23% support equate to victory, and certainly not when the options are Yes, No and Don’t Know.
What he won’t tell his readers directly is just what a minority that makes them but they should be able to work that out for themselves. 61% of the public opposed shooting live animals for sport, which means that nearly three out of every four respondents who expressed an opinion were opposed to this sort of shooting.
Alastair scoffs that the question wasn’t “balanced”. I’m sorry Alastair just putting things in quotation marks doesn’t mean they are not “true”.
The YouGov poll question was
“Do you think that intensively rearing partridges and pheasants in order to be targets for shooting for sport is acceptable?”
Ummm, Alastair, that’s what you do...
Estimates for the number of pheasants released into wild to be targets range between 30-42 million per year. One of the first animal welfare actions the Coalition Government was to rescind the regulations on the sizes of cages that pheasants and partiridges could be kept in. That sounds like they are being intensively reared to me.
When the last government made efforts to regulate the size of cages and the industry said this would reduce the number of pheasants and partridges that were bred in the same breath they also said they would have to import birds from France to shoot. Bang goes the conservation lie.
It is intensive, it is for sport and as YouGov confirms most people will tell you it is totally unacceptable.