THE MAJORITY of Scots said they would intervene if they saw someone abusing an animal.
Figures released today show that 79 per cent of people would step in, but just 47 per cent think that cruelty towards animals is on the rise.
The survey, carried out by animal protection charity OneKind, also shows that 87 per cent of the public still think Scotland is an animal loving nation.
Kind-hearted Scots also find seeing an animal suffer just as distressing as watching a person suffer, with 82 per cent of the population saying this is the case.
The charity carried out the survey throughout the UK to gauge the country’s attitude towards animal cruelty.
They found that most Britons – nine out of 10 – believe animals are capable of understanding human emotions of sadness, happiness and anger.
And 85 per cent think more needs to be done to protect animals as part of preserving the future of the planet.
OneKind have launched a website full of suggestions on how to live a more animal-friendly life.
The “OneKind Acts” include contributions from Bond star Roger Moore, singer Alesha Dixon and television presented Bill Oddie.
Fiona Ogg, Chief Executive of OneKind, said: “It is clear from the poll that we consider ourselves to be a nation of animal lovers.
“However, it is also apparent that many believe we are losing the natural bond we have with animalkind, which is why the mistreatment of animals is on the rise.
“People are also waking up to the fact that protecting animals is an environmental priority, not just a nice thing to do.
“Animal life of all kinds is vital to sustainability and the health of our eco-system.
“Our survival as a species is inextricably linked to the future of the other animal life on earth.”
But people seem divided on what can be done to tackle the problem.
Just under half – 40 per cent – thought better legislation was the best approach, while 28 per cent believe improved animal education for children is the key.
The charity is stressing that although better legislation would help the problem, it is up to individuals to lead the efforts.
Fiona added: “There is no single solution to the problem.
“These different solutions are actually equally important; and yet there remains a lack of awareness amongst the general public that simple lifestyle changes can be just as significant to animal welfare as introducing new laws.
“We are in a similar position to the start of the green movement; with people looking in the first instance to government to fix the problem.
“Ultimately, we hope living an animal-friendly lifestyle will become as mainstream as green living or Fairtrade.”
And Bill Oddie agrees, saying it is important for people to step in when they see an animal being mistreated, as many said they would.
He said: “If you see anyone committing, allowing or encouraging animal cruelty then have the nerve to speak to them.
“It does take a bit of courage – and for heaven’s sake back off if they get nasty (which they can), but you may be able to convince them of the error of their ways, and save an animal from suffering.
“Please say something.”
As well as picking up tips, visitors to the website can suggest their own tips and find out more about what is being done to tackle animal cruelty at www.onekind.org.