With hunting now banned, the League Against Cruel Sports seems to be targeting shooting – or at least, they commissioned a new poll from Communicate Research asking about people’s attitudes to shooting. Communicate asked if people thought shooting wild birds or mammals for sport was acceptable or unacceptable – 71% thought it was unacceptable, 85% thought it was unacceptable to make money from the killing of wild birds or mammals for sport and 80% thought the rearing of pheasants in intensive conditions to supply shooting estates was unacceptable.

Personally I’m rather wary about the wording of the questions in the poll – gamebirds obviously aren’t “wild birds” in any real sense of the word, though one of the League Against Cruel Sports’s objections to shooting game birds is that many wild birds and animals are killed by gamekeepers to protect the pheasants. It’s unlikely that people answering the question were looking at it in those terms though. Equally, you can’t tell from the last question whether people find the breeding of birds to be shot unacceptable, or breeding birds in intensive conditions unacceptable. Despire these shortcomings, the poll does suggest that a majority of the public would be receptive to a campaign against shooting.

On a different “animal welfare” issue, the government this week said they were reversing their earlier decision not to pursue a ban on docking the tails of dogs. While it isn’t up on MORI’s website yet, the RSPCA commissed a poll last month which found that only 8% of people supported docking tails for cosmetic reasons, while 75% were opposed. Of course, those opposed to a ban frequently argue about the desirability of docking the tails of working dogs to avoid infection and injury – either MORI didn’t ask about docking for these reasons, or the RSPCA didn’t report the figures.


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