Saving Scotland’s Seals – Campaign Update

On Tuesday 24th November, the Seal Protection Action Group along with coalition members targeted the Scottish Government dressed as seals.

The aim of our protest was to call for an immediate and comprehensive ban on the deliberate killing of seals by Scottish salmon producers and other fisheries interests in Scotland and the United Kingdom. An estimated 5,000 seals are shot in Scottish waters each year by salmon farm and fisheries interests.

During the protest we unfurled a banner reading ‘CEASEFIRE FOR SEALS’ outside of the Scottish Parliament and handed in a letter addressed to Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond, whilst he was not available to personally accept the letter, Green Party MSP Robin Harper was able to accept it and personally delivered it to the Scottish Government.

The Seal Protection Action Group protesting outside the Scottish Parliment November 2008 demanding a ceasefire for seals!

The letter was signed by 27 leading conservation and animal welfare charities including the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA), Advocate for Animals, PETA Europe, Compassion in World Farming (CIWF), Animal Aid, British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR), Animal Concern, International Animal Rescue (IAR), Save our Seals Fund, Seawatch Foundation and Care for the Wild amongst many others. The letter has also been supported by the Labour Animal welfare Society and Scottish Green Party.

Recently scientists from the Sea Mammal Research Unit revealed what they described as a ‘frightening’ decline in the number of common seals around the UK coast. Under present outdated legislation – The Conservation of Seals Act (1970) – salmon farmers can shoot seals, even during the breeding season, to prevent ‘damage’ to equipment or stock.

The coalition believe that salmon farmers can deter seals and other predators by using properly maintained, tensioned nets and other devices, without resorting to lethal methods.

Andy Ottaway, Campaign Director at the Seal Protection Action Group said “Scientific evidence now supports our view that this culture of killing seals must stop. We are calling for a ceasefire for seals with immediate effect and the comprehensive protection of our disappearing seal populations from deliberate killing before it is too late.”

SPAG has also called on major retailers such as Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Marks and Spencer to insist that seals are not shot by their salmon suppliers. Sainsbury’s, the market leaders in Scottish salmon sales have just committed to end seal shooting as quickly as possible and are calling on their competitors to follow their lead.

In January of this year a public opinion poll found that 75% of the Scottish public support the killing of seals being made illegal in Scottish waters with only 12% supporting Fish farmers and fishermen continuing to kill them.

“Until the governments protect our seals as they surely must, we are also calling on the public to avoid Scottish salmon unless they can be assured that no seals have been killed. We know they support our view that dead seals is too high a price to pay for Scottish salmon”

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

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