Spare the seals

We are disappointed that your article ,“Seal killing: A vital part of preserving Scottish salmon” (7 March), appeared skewed in favour of the marksman’s view – regardless of his expressions of regret – that the killing of seals is somehow a necessary evil.

It may indeed be an economic priority, but the suggestion that these iconic creatures are mere predators fails to acknowledge the welfare of the seals, which have as much right to exist as the salmon and other intensively farmed fish.

OneKind firmly opposes the killing of any seals in Scottish waters. The reporting system introduced in the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010 is an important first step in measuring the extent of legal seal killing and hopefully in reducing the number of deaths each year.

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Prior to this scheme it was impossible to know how many seals were being killed.

While the maximum number of seals that may be killed under licence has reduced by 15 per cent since the reporting system began, the fact that 362 seals were legally shot in 2011 is still a significant animal welfare concern.

The figures also show an increase in the number of common seals shot during the third quarter of 2011, a period that includes the breeding season.

OneKind is now calling on the Scottish Government to provide a closed season to protect mother seals and their pups at breeding times, an option provided for in the legislation.

Killing a pregnant seal means the death of her pup, while shooting a lactating mother leaves her orphaned pup to die slowly from stress, starvation and dehydration. This is a horribly cruel death for any animal.

Marine Scotland is already monitoring the use of increasingly effective, non-lethal alternatives, and these must be the first and only choice in dealing with seals.



Queensferry Street