Knesset c’tee to discuss potential prohibition of the sport on Wednesday; currently, hunting allowed from Sept-Jan.

Some 72 percent of the public favor a prohibition on hunting, a survey commissioned by the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel revealed on Tuesday.

SPNI will present this figure and other results of the survey to the Knesset Internal Affairs and Environment Committee on Wednesday. The lawmakers will discuss a proposed amendment to the Wildlife Protection Law that would ban recreational hunting. Following a proposal by Environmental Protection Minister Amir Peretz, the Ministerial Committee for Legislation approved government support for the amendment on June 30.

The Environmental Protection Ministry began promoting the legislation a few years ago, but the matter came to a stalemate in the Knesset after passing its first reading in the plenum 2011. Peretz therefore asked that the ministerial committee apply continuity to bring the legislation back to the Knesset for its second and third (final) readings.

Currently, hunting of many animals is legal from the beginning of September through the end of January, such as ducks, coots and wild doves. Approximately 2,400 people are registered as hunters.

The SPNI survey, conducted over the last week of December by the Geocartography Knowledge Group, questioned 500 members of the public, with a statistical error of 4.4 percentage points and a statistical significance of 95%.

Asking at what level respondents would support or oppose a law banning sport hunting, the survey found that 53.1% would very much support and 18.9% would support this, adding up to 72%. Some 13.4% of respondents were not certain on the issue, while those against and very much against a prohibition constituted 6.9% and 7.7%, respectively.

Asked whether Israel is doing enough to protect its wildlife, the survey found that 7.8% very much agreed and 30.6% agreed that the government is doing enough. On the other hand, 25.7% “did not really agree” and 9.6% “did not agree at all. A sizable 26.3% chunk said they did not know.

The survey found that 47.6% of respondents very much agreed and 22.5% agreed with the statement that Israel should increase enforcement against those who poison or injure wildlife. While 14.5% of people said they did not know, 8.1% “did not really agree” and 7.3% “did not agree at all.”

“The results prove that the Israeli public recognizes the critical need to significantly increase the protection of our wildlife,” said Nir Papay, vice president of SPNI. “To this purpose, we need to promote modern and effective legislation, stricter penalties and enforcement, an elimination of sport hunting for recreational purposes and the provision of suitable tools for Israel Nature and Parks Authority inspectors to handle the many challenges they are currently facing in their important positions of maintaining and protecting Israeli wildlife. We call for decision- makers to attentive to the heart of the public and advance the legislation.”