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RSPCA boss lambasted for saying shooting seals is ‘humane pest control’

Currently, fish farms are licensed to kill seals to prevent them from attacking and eating salmon in the farm cages. Government figures show more than 800 seals have been shot since 2011.

AMBER HICKS: ‘An RSPCA boss has been caught in a war of words after saying shooting seals is “humane pest control.” The “disturbing” comments made publicly on Twitter by David Bowles, who heads up the charity’s campaigns and public affairs work, have been lambasted by animal-lovers. Some have even vowed to cancel their memberships after Mr Bowles continued to defend his comments.

The remarks were sparked by an article from the brand Lush in which writer Dominic Dyer called for a total ban on the shooting of seals off the coast of Scotland. He described how the killing of the animals was introduced more than 40 years ago to protect the farmed fishing industry, but is no longer necessary. Currently, fish farms are licensed to kill seals to prevent them from attacking and eating salmon in the farm cages. Government figures show more than 800 seals have been shot since 2011.

However, Mr Bowles slated the “simplistic argument” sparking a heated row between him and other Twitter users who questioned how he could condone seals being shot, washing up dead on beaches and pups being oprhaned. But he urged: “We need a sensible debate not a slanging match” and said it was not an easy problem to solve. And he then snapped back: “Seal shooting is not culling it’s about humane pest control.”

It was met with a flurry of blacklash… But Mr Bowles continued: “Seals cause huge welfare problems to salmon when they get into farms outside of the commercial issues – are these welfare issues not our concern?”… Meanwhile, a spokeswoman from the charity said: “The RSPCA rescues and releases hundreds of seals every year and categorically does not regard them as pests. In fact, the RSPCA is the biggest rehabilitator of seals in England and Wales’. SOURCE…

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