Majority of Public Support EU's Ban on Seal Products

More than seven in ten adults (72%) across 11 European countries say they support the EU's ban on the sale of seal products in Europe according to Ipsos research for IFAW, HSI and others.

More than seven in ten adults (72%) across the 11 European countries surveyed say they support the EU’s ban on the sale of seal products in Europe according to new research carried out by Ipsos for Humane Society International (HSI), the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA), Eurogroup for Animals, the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA), Global Action in the Interest of Animals (GAIA), Lega Anti Vivisezione (LAV), Bont voor Dieren, and Fondation Franz Weber. 

The overall ratio of support to opposition across the 11 countries is over 5:1. While the results vary from country to country, they clearly show that the majority of the general public in these European countries supports the EU ban.

At least four in five people in Germany (88%), Belgium (84%) and France (81%) say they support the ban.  Around three in four people in Lithuania (75%), Great Britain, Poland and Sweden (each 73%) are in support of the EU’s ban. In the Netherlands (66%), Spain (62%) and Romania (61%), more than three in five support the ban. Support is lowest in Italy, where just over half support the ban (52%), while one in three oppose it (33%).

The ratio of support to opposition is the highest in Northern Europe — Germany (18:1) and Belgium (14:1), followed by France (9:1) and then Sweden (8:1).    

Just over three quarters (78%) of adults across the 11 countries say either that they know not very much or nothing about commercial seal hunting including a quarter (25%) who say they have never heard of it. Around one in five (21%) say they know at least a fair amount about the issue – including just 3 per cent who believe they know a great deal.

Technical details

A minimum of 500 interviews were conducted in each country (a total of 6,102 across the 11 countries), either face-to-face or by telephone (omnibus surveys), in April/May 2011.  In each case, the samples were designed to be nationally representative of the full adult population within the respective age ranges.   

The survey was conducted across eleven countries as follows: Belgium (502 adults aged 15+, face-to-face, 12th and 23rd May 2011); France (517 adults aged 15+, telephone,  29th April and 2nd May 2011); Germany (524 adults aged 14+, telephone, 21st and 27th April 2011); Great Britain (1,004 adults aged 18+, telephone, 21st and 25th April 2011); Italy (518 adults aged 15+, face-to-face, 27th April and 3rd May 2011); Lithuania (500 adults aged 15+, telephone, 4th and 13th May 2011); Netherlands (502 adults aged 15+, telephone, 26th April and 16th May 2011); Poland (501 adults aged 15+, face-to-face, 6th and 9th May 2011); Romania (1,040 adults aged 15+, face-to-face, 6th and 12th May 2011); Spain (516 adults aged 15+, face-to-face, 3rd and 15th May 2011); Sweden (500 adults aged 15+, telephone between 3rd and 8th May 2011).

The half of the GB sample that was given the long introduction (as in other countries) is included in the 11 country total, while the other half is not.   

National results are weighted to the known adult population profile of each country by age, sex, work status (active or inactive) and region. The overall results for all 11 countries are also weighted in proportion to the adult population size. It is possible to apply weights at the second stage either to the size of the adult population in each country proportionate to the total sample size, as this survey has, or by country on a ‘one country one vote’ (combined 11 country average) basis.

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