Man charged over seal pup slaughter

A man has been charged in connection with the clubbing to death of 18 grey seal pups found on a beach in the Shetland Islands.

Police were alerted by workers from Scottish Natural Heritage while conducting a seal survey on 29th November. When officers attended the beach, in the East Linga area of the island, they found 12 dead pups on one part of the beach and six on another section. A man will appear at Lerwick Sheriff Court in due course.

Andy Ottaway, Campaign Director at the Seal Protection Action Group has stated:

“This shocking event is sadly typical of the kind of cruel abuse inflicted upon our seals. We hope that the perpetrator will be punished with the full force of the law. This horrifying incident can only strengthen our case for greater protection for our globally important seal populations”

Grey seal pup

The pups killed were grey seals, one of two species in British waters. The Shetland Islands are also home to a globally important population of common (harbour) seals. Recently scientists have reported that there has been a ‘frightening’ decline of common seals in Scotland and England.

In 2007, the Scottish Government introduced a ban on the deliberate killing of common seals in the Shetland Islands, Orkney and an area of the east coast between Stonehaven and Dunbar because of concern over their declining numbers. It is not yet clear if grey seals are at risk.

However, grey and common seals across other parts of Scotland are not protected and campaigners believe an estimated 5,000 seals are shot in Scottish waters each year by salmon farm and fisheries interests.

Last week as reported in the last ‘Saving Scotland’s Seals blog post’ , representatives from the Seal Protection Action Group along with representatives from other animal welfare and conservation organisations protested outside of the Scottish Parliament calling for an immediate ban on the shooting or otherwise killing of seals.

At SPAG we believe that:

“This culture of killing seals must stop! We need a ceasefire for seals with immediate effect and the comprehensive protection of our disappearing seal populations from deliberate killing before it is too late.”

If you would like to take action to protect seals in Scotland please:

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