New independent research published on 2 May shows that the British public supports the control of predators to protect threatened species.

The Countryside Alliance, Moorland Association and National Gamekeepers’ Organisation commissioned Opinion Research Business to conduct a representative survey of 1,004 people in the UK in a bid to discover the public’s attitude towards predator control.

The controversial results showed that 80 per cent of the public thinks that there should be intervention to help declining bird species rather than “just leaving it to nature”. Sixty per cent thinks that raptors should be controlled if they are damaging wildlife and livelihoods and 84 per cent believes the RSPB should carry out predator control on its nature reserves. Importantly, 81 per cent also believes that gamekeepers, who carry out predator control as part of their jobs have a positive impact on the countryside.

Simon Hart of the Countryside Alliance noted that this research shows that many of the assumptions about public opinion that have driven policy and spending on wildlife management are wrong: “For years everyone from the Government to the RSPB has run scared of being open and honest about the need to control some species for the benefit of others. We live in a managed landscape. People understand it is necessary to control predators to protect

declining species and maintain a balance.”

The rest of this article appears in 14 May issue of Shooting Times.

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