More than three quarters of Scots think the law should be changed to really ban hunting

New figures published by the League Against Cruel Sports Scotland show an overwhelming 87% of people in Scotland, and 92% of those who express an opinion, think fox hunting should be illegal. Furthermore, more than tree quarters (77%), rising to 82% of those who express an opinion, support action to strengthen the law and really ban fox hunting. Only 8% think it should be made legal again. The figures are being released on Boxing Day, which is traditionally the biggest day in the hunting calendar.

Robbie Marsland, Director of the League Against Cruel Sports, Scotland said: “These latest figures show the vast majority of the public fully support a ban on fox hunting with 87% of those polled voicing support for the activity to be illegal. However, more significantly, 77% think the law as it stands is inadequate and want to see changes which would really ban hunting in Scotland.

“Fox hunting with hounds was banned in Scotland seventeen years ago yet sadly we have a law which has not served the purpose for which it was intended. This means hunts are continuing to go out two or three times a week over the hunting season, hunting in a way which is almost identical to pre-ban hunting making the law a complete waste of time.

“Repeated polling over many years has consistently shown public opinion rooted firmly against this cruel and outdated pastime.”

The latest polling, undertaken by Mark Diffley Consultancy and Research Ltd shows that public support for a ban on fox hunting is consistent across the urban rural divide. In large urban areas 88% support a ban while in remote rural areas support is at 82%. Support for continuing a ban is also overwhelming across all age groups, sexes and social classes.

Almost a year ago, the Scottish Government announced plans to introduce a Bill which would strengthen the law. Twelve months on, the process to introduce the Bill is yet to start. The Minister responsible for this, Mairi Gougeon MSP has reiterated her commitment to a Bill but parliamentary time is now extremely limited before the 2021 elections. The Green Party has also introduced a Members’ Bill and has consulted on plans to tighten up hunting laws.

Robbie Marsland added: “It is clear there is huge public support for a proper ban on hunting as well as a strong political will to improve the law which currently legislates against fox hunting but it is frustrating that this is not equating into meaningful action. The law was intended to end the horrific practice of using hounds to chase, terrorise and kill wild mammals for sport yet largely, our evidence shows this is still happening week in, week out over the hunting season in Scotland.

“The League will continue to campaign for a law which does what was originally intended and really ban hunting.”

Ends

Notes to editor

 

  1. The League Against Cruel Sports is Britain's leading charity that works to stop animals being persecuted, abused and killed for sport. The League was instrumental in helping bring about the landmark Hunting Act. We carry out investigations to expose law-breaking and cruelty to animals and campaign for stronger animal protection laws and penalties. We work to change attitudes and behaviour through education and manage sanctuaries to protect wildlife. Find out more about our work at www.league.org.uk. Registered charity in England and Wales (no.1095234) and Scotland (no.SC045533).
  2. This survey was commissioned by the League Against Cruel Sports and designed and undertaken by Mark Diffley Consultancy and Research Ltd. Data was collected online among a sample of the ScotPulse online panel throughout Scotland, representative of the Scottish population, fieldwork dates were 3rd December to 6th December 2019, a total of 1066 responses were received, results are weighted to the Scottish population by gender and age.
  3. Media enquiries to Louise Robertson on 07930 539832 / [email protected]