By Simon Darby-The British Isles is home to important populations of both common and grey seals. Whilst almost everyone is painfully aware of terrible cruelty that takes place in Canada, hundreds of seals are also shot in UK waters each year, especially near salmon farms.
But it could be about to get much, much worse. On Wednesday 12th September, the EU voted to give the green light to effectively move thousands more of our seals into the crosshairs.
Strasbourg's seal ambush started with the Hagland Report
- Conservation and sustainable exploitation of fisheries resources
Within the text were to be found these ominous statements leaving any MEP reading them with no doubt whatsoever that a 'yes' vote would pave the way for the mass slaughter of seals and seabirds for the sole 'crime' of eating fish:
E. whereas the rapidly growing populations of seabirds and seals are putting further pressure on depleted fishery resources in some regions of the EU;
13. Urges the Commission to take measures to reduce the negative effects of seals and certain seabirds on fish stocks, particularly where these are invasive species in a particular region;
Shockingly, amendments in favour of seal slaughter, and the final Report, sailed through with large majorities - some 380 MEPs in favour, 240 against and 33 abstaining.
Just a few minutes later a vote was taken on the Salavrakos Report- Reform of the Common Fisheries Policy. This contained proposals for the EU's "population regulation" of offending wildlife:
24. Calls on the Commission to investigate the reduction in fishstocks owing to natural predators such as sea lions, seals and cormorants, and to draw up and implement management plans to regulate these populations in cooperation with the affected Member States;
To their shame some 461 voted in favour of this report, with just 131 MEPs against and 42 abstentions.
That's nearly 500 MEPs prepared to scapegoat seals and seabirds for the EU's disastrous Common Fisheries Policy
OK so who are the UK MEPs who think it's just fine to eliminate seals and their pups because foreign fleets have been allowed to hoover up our fish stocks to the point of ecological catastrophe? We thought you would never ask.
Richard Ashworth - South East
Martin Callanan -North East
Vicky Ford - Eastern
Jaqueline Foster - North West
Ashley Fox - South West
Julie Girling - South West
Daniel Hannan - South West
Malcolm Harbour - West Midlands
Sajjad Karim - North West
Timothy Kirkhope - Yorks & Humber
Anthea McIntyre - West Midlands
Struan Stevenson - Scotland
Kay Swinburne - Wales
Charles Tannock - London
Geoffrey Van Orden - Eastern
Marina Yannakoudakis - London
Michael Cashman - West Midlands
Richard Howitt - Eastern
Stephen Hughes - North East
David Martin - Scotland
Linda McAvan - Yorks & Humber
Arlene McCarthy - North West
Brian Simpson - North West
Peter Skinner - South East
Catherine Stihler - Scotland
Dereck Vaughan - Wales
Diane Dodds - Northern Ireland