Hen harrier numbers arouse great passions. The disagreement over potential recovery programmes has been so strong that despite decades of debate they have not been introduced and we are left with very few hen harriers on English Uplands.
We wondered what, beyond noisy campaigners like ourselves, was the opinion of ordinary people? So last week the opinion poll company TNS asked the public for their views. What did they think of translocation of harrier chicks? Would they support it if they knew it was being done on grouse moors? And, the key question, could they accept gamekeepers being involved?
Given how vocal some activists are against translocation we were very surprised by the results. Among RSPB donors – a good proxy for those who are passionate about birds – an overwhelming 67% supported translocation even when they knew it was being done on grouse moors by gamekeepers. Only 7% were opposed, with only a tiny 2% of them being strongly opposed.
So who speaks for birds? And who speaks for RSPB donors? The figures are on the spreadsheet below.
TNS conducted this online opinion poll of 1,006 UK adults between 9th and 11th September 2014 on behalf of the Countryside Alliance.