Most Canadians oppose hunting animals for sport or fur, poll suggests

Nov 23 2019, 2:57 pm

When it comes to animal welfare, most Canadians place trophy hunting and rodeos in the bad books, a new poll suggests.

Eating meat and hunting for sustenance are still viewed as ok, though.

Those figures come from a recent survey conducted by Vancouver-based Research Co. that canvassed a representative sample 1,000 Canadians between November 10 and 13. Its margin of error is plus or minus 3.1 percentage points 19 times out of 20.

A full 85% of Canadians surveyed oppose hunting animals for sport (trophy hunting), and 75% are against killing animals for their fur. Opposition was highest in BC and Ontario.

That’s slightly lower than figures reported by BC-based research firm Insights West in previous years. Back then, polling suggested 88% of Canadians surveyed opposed trophy hunting in 2015 and 90% were against it in 2013. Nevertheless, the majority of Canadians appear to have opposed trophy for at least the past decade.

Attitudes shifted, however, when pollsters asked people how they felt about killing animals for meat. Three quarters of Canadians approve of eating animals, and 65% say hunting animals is ok if you’re going to eat them.

“Canadians hold very different views on the issue of hunting depending on whether the practice will lead to sustenance,” Mario Canseco, president of Research Co., said in a news release.

He noted that in both instances, levels of animosity toward hunting are higher among women than men.

BC abolished the grizzly bear trophy hunt in 2017, and at the time officials said the decision was because of shifting public attitudes.

Chilliwack Rodeo / Vancouver Humane Society

Calf roping at Chilliwack Rodeo / Vancouver Humane Society

Research Co. also asked Canadians what they thought of using animals in rodeos, and found the responses differed regionally. The majority of people surveyed in Atlantic Canada, Quebec, Ontario, and BC said they disapproved of using animals in rodeo events.

But in the prairie provinces opinions were more evenly split. More residents of Manitoba and Saskatchewan who were surveyed endorsed rodeos than opposed them.

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The Canadian Football League (CFL) is hosting a rodeo along with the Grey Cup in Calgary beginning November 23. The move was controversial, with the Vancouver Humane Society calling it a “marketing blunder.” 

The Research Co. poll asked Canadians specifically about the CFL’s decision to include a rodeo as part of the Grey Cup festivities, and found 46% of people surveyed disagreed with it. Opposition was highest in BC and Quebec.