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New legislation may result in seals being shot says welfare group

By Ali Morrison

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A threat to seals?
A threat to seals?

Animal Concern has asked MSPs to take urgent action to stop a possible mass slaughter of seals during the next six months.

Recent changes to wildlife protection laws will make it illegal for salmon farmers to shoot seals after the end of January next year.

But campaigners fear fish farmers will use the six months they have left to kill as many seals as they can.

The law was changed to protect lucrative exports of salmon to the USA which would have been banned from next year if the Scottish Government did not make seal killing illegal.

While welcoming the ban he has been campaigning for over the last 40 years, John Robins of Animal Concern, based in Dumbarton, wants Government to close the loophole he thinks will result "in our seas running red with the blood of shot seals."

He said: “The shooting ban should have been brought in with immediate effect. Fearing a ban was coming seal shooters have already doubled their kill rate this year. Now they have a deadline it could become a very deadly line for seals in Scottish waters.

"I’ve asked the Government to immediately rescind existing seal shooting licences and to refuse to issue any new licenses. We could be on the verge of a wildlife massacre for which our Government Ministers should feel guilty and very ashamed. Due to travel restrictions because of the pandemic there will be few people to witness the seal slaughter. We urge anyone who has evidence of seals being killed to let us know and to inform the police so they can verify if the animals have been killed legally or not."

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