6th December 2009

SCOTTISH SEAL SHOOTING SCANDAL

NATIONAL & INTERNATIONAL ACTION REQUIRED NOW!

The Scottish Government has made it clear that they are going to support seal shooting salmon farmers and not the protection of seals in the forthcoming Marine (Scotland) Act.

At a crucial committee debate on the proposed Act, Scottish Government representatives strongly opposed moves to keep the close seasons which give seals at least some protection during the breeding seasons. Instead the Government wants to allow fish farmers and others to shoot heavily pregnant seals and mother seals with dependant young thus leaving baby seals to starve to death. Blatant barbarism.

The Save Our Seals Fund, Animal Concern and the Animal Concern Advice Line all called for a ban on allowing salmon farmers to shoot seals. Apart from any moral, welfare or conservation issues the fact is that salmon farmers can exclude seals from their floating factory farms thus removing any need to shoot them. The problem is that exclusion is more expensive than shooting seals. The Scottish Government not only opposes banning salmon farmers from shooting seals, it will not even support a compromise calling for salmon farmers to at least try all the exclusion methods before resorting to shooting seals.

There are many reasons for the SNP Government to deny seals any realistic protection but the most obvious one is that salmon factory farmers, commercial fishery interests and those that work in these industries can vote – seals cannot. The SNP have a terrible record on Marine conservation and continually lobby for bigger catch quotas for Scottish fishermen while fish stocks continue to decline due to commercial over fishing. In Scotland the same Government Minister is responsible for protecting seals and the environment AND for protecting the industries which are in direct and deadly conflict with seals and the habitat which is their home.

The time has come to tell Scottish politicians that their failure to protect the globally important seal populations which live in Scottish waters is a very serious matter with extremely serious consequences for the Scottish economy.

Below are two versions of an e-mail to the Scottish First (Prime) Minister Alex Salmond. One is for people in Scotland and the other is for people living outside of Scotland. Please add your own name and address and customise the e-mail as you see fit. Also please circulate this appeal for action as widely as possible. Those of you on internet social network sites (I don’t have a clue how to use them!) please distribute this message to your friends. Those of you who are supporters/members of other groups, especially the big international groups, contact them and ask them to back this campaign and ask their supporters to join in. Make sure you ask them for a reply – Scottish seals desperately need their support. We need thousands of international protests so that Alex Salmond knows that killing seals in Scotland is just as unacceptable as killing seals in Canada, Norway or South Africa.

Protest e-mails should be sent to: FirstMinister@scotland.gsi.gov.uk

Scottish supporters may wish to copy their e-mails to their own MSPs. 




SUGGESTED PROTEST E-MAIL FROM PEOPLE OUTSIDE SCOTLAND


INSERT YOUR DETAILS AND DATE HERE

Rt. Hon Alex Salmond MSP,
The First Minister,
St. Andrew's House,
Regent Road,
Edinburgh
EH1 3DG


Dear First Minister,

I have just learned that the shooting and killing of seals is not only allowed in Scotland, your Government has been blocking moves to gives seals some legal protection.

Until Scotland bans the killing of seals I will not be visiting your country as a tourist, will most definitely not be buying Scottish salmon and will also avoid other Scottish products.

Please tell me why your new Marine Act will allow fish farmers and others to shoot pregnant seals and mother seals with dependent pups? Tell me why your new law will not force fish farmers to use existing technology to protect their stock without resorting to shooting seals?

Bring Scotland into the 21st century – outlaw the killing of seals and give seals and their marine environment proper legal protection.

Yours sincerely,




SUGGESTED PROTEST E-MAIL FROM PEOPLE IN SCOTLAND


INSERT YOUR DETAILS AND DATE HERE

Rt. Hon Alex Salmond MSP,
The First Minister,
St. Andrew's House,
Regent Road,
Edinburgh
EH1 3DG


Dear First Minister,

I write to you as a person who is proud to be a Scot but is totally ashamed at the failure of your Government to offer seals protection in the forthcoming Marine (Scotland) Act.

I understand that at the recent Stage 2 Committee debate on amendments to part 5 of the Marine (Scotland) Bill representatives of your Government opposed keeping the close seasons which give seals protection from being shot when heavily pregnant or nursing their young. I understand also that not only does your Government oppose banning salmon farmers from shooting seals; you even opposed making it necessary for the farmers to try all non-lethal deterrent methods before resorting to shooting. 

Until your Government changes the Marine (Scotland) Bill to give seals proper protection I will be encouraging my friends and relatives here and abroad to boycott Scottish salmon and other Scottish products and to cross Scotland off their list of acceptable holiday destinations. I will also ask my friends and relatives in Scotland not to vote for the SNP in future Westminster, Holyrood and local elections.

The killing of seals in Canada, Norway, Russia and Africa attracts international outrage and condemnation. I would like you to reply to this communication and tell me why you think that the Government endorsed slaughter of seals in Scotland is acceptable?

Your Government is condemning seals, including new born baby seals, to death and by refusing to stop this cruel and  unnecessary slaughter you are damaging the reputation of Scotland across the globe.

Yours sincerely,



In addition to e-mailing the Scottish First Minister, distributing this communication to your personal contacts and like-minded groups, please also consider writing letters to the newspapers to make more people aware of the Scottish Seal Shooting Scandal. Anything up to 5,000 seals are legally killed in Scotland every year. With your help we may finally put an end to this scandal.

Thanks for your help.

John F Robins (founder of Save Our Seals Fund)

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