This week the League Against Cruel Sports Scotland and OneKind published the results of polling of attitudes towards mountain hare culling in Scotland. This follows the First Minister’s branding of footage of culling as “unacceptable” and committed to “exploring all available options to prevent the mass culling of mountain hares and one of those options is of course legislation and a licencing scheme”.
We welcomed these comments, and hope that it will lead to an urgent intervention to protect Scotland’s mountain hares before the killing season starts once again later this year. The good news for the First Minister is that if she delivers this, she will have the support of the clear majority of the Scottish public in urban and rural areas, and regardless of how they vote. Here’s three graphs that demonstrate this.
1) 83% of the Scottish public support action on mountain hare culls
28% support a total ban on mountain hare culling, and 55% want to see regulated culls beyond what we have now, i.e. a closed season for part of the year. That suggests that a total of 83% support Scottish Government action, and would presumably welcome mountain hare protection with a licensing scheme that allows culling in very specific circumstances such as forestry protection and only as a last resort.
2) Urban and rural constituencies support action on mountain hare culls
Wildlife protection issues are often characterised as urban concerns, so it’s fascinating to see that support for total protection and regulation was marginally higher amongst those polled in rural areas compared to urban areas. In total, 82% of urbanites supported Government action on culls and 89% of those in rural areas.
3) SNP voters are the biggest supporters of mountain hares
Technically speaking, voters for all parties overwhelmingly support either regulation or total protection of hares, however it’s pertinent to note that this support is most pronounced amongst SNP voters. 88% of SNP voters support action, with 35% in favour of total protection and 53% in favour of regulation.
All data cited in this blog is from a ScotPulse survey:
- Surveys were online with invitations to a sample of the ScotPulse panel throughout Scotland, representative of the Scottish population
- Survey invitations were sent on 16th May, with results analysed on 21st May
- A total of 1038 complete responses were received.
- Results were weighted to the Scottish population by gender and age.