Grouse shooting is a subject of little importance to the general public, despite a vocal campaign against it, according to a poll conducted by a leading countryside lobbying group.
The Countryside Alliance commissioned a survey of 2,000 people in response to a recent online petition, signed by more than 120,000 people, that called for the sport to be banned as it is “harmful to other wildlife”.
Environmentalists accuse landowners and gamekeepers of killing natural predators which threaten grouse population.
Grouse estates across Scotland reported spending almost £7 million on wages for full and part-time staff in 2015, including seasonal workers such as grouse beaters, according to industry research.
The success of the online petition led to MPs debating the issue at Westminster Hall on Monday evening.
But the Countryside Alliance said 77 per cent of Britons did consider the subject of importance.
Spokesman Liam Stokes said: “These polling results confirm what we already knew.
“The 120,000 signature petition that has led to today’s debate calling for the banning of driven grouse shooting is no way reflective of broader public interest. It is instead the result of manufactured support that has relied heavily upon the endorsements of a few notable celebrity endorsements.
“Grouse shooting is of enormous importance to the upland communities who rely on its economic benefits, and to the wildlife it helps conserve, but the rest of the country think the issue is of no importance at all.”