Scots believe that farmers need to be able to control foxes on their land and do not want the law changed to stop them doing so – new polling for the Scottish Countryside Alliance has shown.
It is also clear from the polling that fox hunting is not an issue that will affect votes in the coming Scottish Parliament Elections.
In polling carried out for the Scottish Countryside Alliance earlier this month  a large majority, 64%, said they thought it was acceptable for farmers to shoot foxes to protect their livestock, whilst just 27% were opposed. The largest group, 40%, thought the current law on hunting, which allows the use of any number of dogs to flush and shoot foxes, should be left as it is. A further 9% believed all restrictions on hunting should be removed. Together those two groups represent a clear majority of those who expressed a view. Only 37% wanted the law changed to ban flushing with dogs and shooting.
Meanwhile, not a single one of the 1,041 people surveyed spontaneously raised hunting as the most influential issue which will affect the way they vote. When hunting was compared to 16 other issues which might affect peoples’ votes it was the least influential with just 2% saying hunting would have the decisive impact on their vote in May’s elections.
Jamie Stewart, director of the Scottish Countryside Alliance, said: “The suggestion that there is a groundswell of concern about this issue or support for the law on hunting in Scotland to be changed is clearly nonsense. Animal rights groups have celebrated the ‘success’ of the Protection of Wild Mammals (Scotland) Act 2002 over the past 13 years whilst effective fox control using packs of dogs has been able to continue. This polling buries the myth that there is concern from the public about the current hunting legislation in Scotland and a desire for change.
“The research shows that Scottish people support the right of farmers to cull foxes, and believe that the current legislation represents a sensible compromise which protects both animal welfare and the ability to manage wildlife.”
“Police Scotland investigations and the most recent Scottish Government wildlife crime report provide robust evidence that this is not an area for concern for law enforcement. This input, together with the clear statement of public opinion contained within our polling, provides all the evidence the Scottish Government needs reject calls for pointless and divisive new legislation. Politicians who raise this issue as a priority in the run up to the election will only make themselves look totally out of touch with the electorate.”
For more information, contact the Scottish Countryside Alliance on 01890 818554 or email [email protected]
Note for editors
 All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 1,041 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 17th – 21st December 2015. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all Scottish adults (aged 18+).
For full polling, go to https://yougov.co.uk/
To join us: www.countryside-alliance.org.uk/join