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June 15, 2015

New Poll Open for Misinterpretation


Extremist animal rights groups are sure to embrace a new Gallup poll as evidence that public opinion supports giving animals the same rights as people. As groups face a drop in individual contributions, such as a roughly 15 percent drop for the Humane Society of the United States from 2010-2013, they become more desperate for bumper sticker-style talking points.

The poll, conducted May 6-10, found an increasing minority share of Americans “believe animals should be given the same rights as people.” What doesn’t make headlines, however, is that nearly two-thirds of respondents agree that animals deserve some protection, but it is “still appropriate to use them for the benefit of humans.”

It’s interesting that Gallup did not ask this year’s sample about their support for hunting. In an earlier 2003 Gallup survey on the same topic, respondents overwhelmingly opposed a ban on hunting, with 76 percent opposed to banning the activity.

This echoes the strong support for hunting seen in other surveys. One recent survey found that 77 percent of American adults approve of hunting, compared to a 73 percent approval rate in 1995. The survey, conducted by Responsive Management, is the latest data point in a series conducted for the National Shooting Sports Foundation and other outdoors groups. The approval trend remains steady year after year, with an average approval rate of 77 percent since 2003.

Before the Gallup poll is held up by anti-hunting groups, we would encourage a deeper look at the tradition of hunting and the key role of sportsmen and women and the firearms industry as the major source of conservation funding in America.