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Last Updated: Tuesday, 19 September 2006, 15:20 GMT 16:20 UK
Pregnant seals killed in Orkney
Grey seal
Grey seals were the victims of the shootings in Orkney
Animal welfare groups have hit out after four pregnant seals and a juvenile were shot dead in Orkney.

A member of the public found the five grey seals shot in the head at the Point of Vastray.

The shooting of the seals was reported to the charity Orkney Seal Rescue and Northern Constabulary has also been called in.

The slaughter on the island's west coast has prompted calls for new legislation to better protect seals.

Orkney Seal Rescue director Ross Flett said it was "horrible" and there was no need for the shootings.

'Easy targets'

He said: "These animals were clearly no threat to fishing equipment where they were shot.

"There were four pregnant females - so that's four more grey seals that were killed because the pups didn't even get the chance to be born.

"In the pupping season, they come into the shallow waters and it just makes them easy targets."

The campaign group Animal Concern said: "The need for better protection for seals is clear.

"As well as preventing the senseless deaths seen in the Orkney incident, seal populations in Britain are so important internationally that we have a duty to ensure their conservation."

Probe into Orkney seal shootings
25 Sep 04 |  Scotland

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