Nearly 90% of people in Scotland support a ban on fox hunting, according to a survey by a leading animal rights group.
The League Against Cruel Sports released their findings on Boxing Day – a usually popular day for hunting – showing 87% of those asked support a ban on fox hunting and 77% believe there should be tougher laws on the practice.
Just 8% believe it should be allowed by the government.
Activists have said current legislation banning fox hunting is not strong enough and the animals are still in danger.
The findings come as the Scottish Green Party continues to push for tougher legislation, with MSP Alison Johnstone looking to pass a Member’s Bill which will close loopholes in the current law.
Ms Johnstone’s Bill was introduced in June and should be debated by Parliament in the new year.
League Against Cruel Sports Scotland director Robbie Marsland said: “These latest figures show the vast majority of the public fully support a ban on fox hunting, with 87% of those polled voicing support for the activity to be illegal.
“However, more significantly, 77% think the law as it stands is inadequate and want to see changes which would really ban hunting in Scotland.
“Fox hunting with hounds was banned in Scotland seventeen years ago yet sadly we have a law which has not served the purpose for which it was intended.
“This means hunts are continuing to go out two or three times a week over the hunting season, hunting in a way which is almost identical to pre-ban hunting making the law a complete waste of time.”
The Scottish Government has said it also plans to bring forward a Bill aimed at stemming the practice but Mr Marsland said the time to pass the legislation – which has not yet been introduced – is limited due to the 2021 Holyrood elections.
He said: “It is clear there is huge public support for a proper ban on hunting as well as a strong political will to improve the law which currently legislates against fox hunting but it is frustrating that this is not equating into meaningful action.
“The law was intended to end the horrific practice of using hounds to chase, terrorise and kill wild mammals for sport yet, largely, our evidence shows this is still happening week in, week out over the hunting season in Scotland.”
Ms Johnstone said: “Foxes are an iconic species that deserve our compassion and respect, yet they are routinely slaughtered across the country.
“Fox hunting was meant to have been banned in Scotland in 2002, but in reality little changed.
“Hunts still go out, pursuing and killing foxes, and hundreds of foxes are thought to still be killed by the hunting dogs.
“My Bill will finally end this cruel practice by removing all loopholes in the current legislation and giving Scotland the watertight ban that the public want to see.
“It will ensure today sees the last-ever boxing day hunts in Scotland, ending this barbarism for good.”