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Last Updated: Sunday, 18 April, 2004, 08:57 GMT 09:57 UK
MSP backing Scottish seal cull
Harp seal
Scotland has the world's second largest seal population
A senior Labour MSP has called for more research into seal numbers and said the UK should not be afraid of culling the animals if necessary.

Western Isles MSP Alasdair Morrison made the call on BBC Radio Scotland's Sunday Live programme.

He said if it could be proved the seal population was damaging fish stocks, tough decisions should be made.

Wildlife campaigners have condemned Canada's decision to cull about 300,000 seals.

Scotland has the world's second largest seal population and Mr Morrison said that they should be treated like other animals.

Activist fury

He said: "Culls are not unique to the Outer Hebrides or indeed to other parts of Scotland.

"It happens in terms of mink, hedgehog and deer and again, if required, it should also happen with the seal population around the Hebrides and around the British Isles."

Animal right activists reacted with fury earlier this week when Canada launched the largest single seal hunt in half a century.

Alasdair Morrison MSP
Alasdair Morrison: "Other species are culled"
The Canadian Government said hunters would be allowed to kill about 350,000 seals this year.

The hunting of young seals for their fur almost stopped in the face of international outrage but with seal numbers increasing and fur again in fashion the hunt has returned.

About 38% of the world population of grey seals is found in Britain and over 90% of them breed in Scotland, the majority in the Hebrides and in Orkney.

Britain is also home to about 40% of all European common seals and 87% of them live around Scotland in the Hebrides and Northern Isles, the Wash, the Firth of Tay and the Moray Firth.

Canada completes main seal cull
14 Apr 04  |  Americas
Activists blast Canada seal hunt
07 Apr 04  |  Americas
Norway suggests tourist seal hunts
07 Nov 01  |  Business

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