Scottish MP Calls for Seal Cull

Labour MSP Alasdair Morrison stirred up plenty of controversy in April with his suggestion that Scotland follow Canada’s lead in resuming seal hunting.

Morrison 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.

According to the Scotsman, about 38 percent of the world’s population of grey seals and 40 percent of European common seals are found in Britain, and of those about 90 percent breed in Scotland. Seal hunting was banned in 1978 after negative publicity over the Canadian seal hunt.

Scotland’s Advocates for Animals was not happy with Morrison’s suggestion, with a spokesman telling The Scotsman,

Increasingly, seals are being persecuted in the name of fisheriesÂ’ protection when commercial overfishing is the real problem. Time and time again, the fishing industry claim stocks are not recovering because of the seals, but the industry needs to look at itself. The issue over seals has grown in international importance and it is our duty to protect them.

Regardless, a seal hunt is not going to happen anytime soon in Scotland. A spokeswoman for the Scottish Executive told The Scotsman, “The Scottish Executive has no plans for a seal cull. Evidence suggests that in general seals do not have a significant impact on fisheries stocks.”


Fury over call to cull Scotland’s seals. Andrew Denholm, The Scotsman, April 19, 2004.

Yvonne Taylor Claims She Was Assaulted at Fur Show

Advocates for Animals anti-fur activist Yvonne Taylor claimed she was assaulted at the Chennai International Leather Fair while she repeatedly tried to storm the stage.

According to Taylor, she first walked onto the catwalk at the show carrying banners reading “Leather Kills” and “Leather Is Murder.” She was grabbed by security guards and removed from the stage.

After she colored her hair a different color, she returned to the show and tried to jump on stage while shouting animal rights slogans. According to Taylor, several guards grabbed her again and this time they physically assaulted her. Taylor told The Times of India,

[I was] physically lifted up and thrown out of the ramp by as many as six men. I was just one lone woman, there was simply no need for six men to grab me. The guards grabbed me from all sides, punched me in the face and pulled my hands in two opposite directions as if wanting to tear me apart.

A spokesman for the organizers of the show responded that the show could have had Taylor arrested, but chose not to,

We could have definitely put her in jail, but did not do so as we believe that in a democracy everybody has a right to protest.


British woman bounced off ramp. Times of India, February 4, 2004.

Scot animal activist attacked at fashion show. Sify News, February 3, 2004.

Two Men Charged Under Scotland's Fox Hunt Ban

Two Scottish huntsmen became the first to be charged with violating Scotland’s ban on fox hunting. Trevor Adams and Rory Innes were charged in April with violating the law by hunting with dogs.

Adams was charged for his participation in an October 2002 hunt, while Innes was charged for taking part in a hunt that took place in March 2003. Both men were prominent opponents of the Scottish fox hunting ban, and both claim their respective hunts were legal under the requirements of the new law that went into effect in August 2002.

A provision of that law allows foxes to be shot for pest control purposes, and additionally allows hounds to be used to kill a wounded fox.

Les Ward of Advocates for Animals, which supported the ban on fox hunting, told The Guardian that, “We’ve known in the last few months that many of the hunts have been sailing close to the wind.”

The Scotsman reported that in September 2002 Adams said that his Bucleuch hunt had used hounds to kill several foxes but always within the bounds of the law. “That is our interpretation of the act and the local police seem happy about it,” Adams said.


Fox hunt masters facing charges over kills. Paul Gallagher, The Scotsman, April 29, 2003.

Huntsmen charged under Scottish ban. Gerard Seenan, The Guardian, April 30, 2003.

Singapore's World Gourmet Summit Draws Controversy Over Foie Gras

The World Gourmet Summit, held in Singapore this April, came under a lot of fire and controversy for its decision to feature foie gras.

Animal activists, including Singapore-based AnimalWatch, criticized the inclusion of the delicacy on the grounds that its production is cruel. Activists maintain that geese and duck are cruelly force fed in order to fatten up the livers of the animals. Group such as Advocates for Animals, World Society for the Protection of Animals, Compassion in World Farming, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and the Humane Society of the United States, also wrote letters to the organizers of the World Gourmet Summit asking them to drop foie gras off the menu.

Despite the protests, Summit organizers Peter Knipp Holdings and the Singapore Tourism Board decided to go ahead with the foie gras dinner.


Foie gras on Singapore feast menu despite protest from animal rights body. AFP, April 2, 2003.

Animal rights groups slam summit over ‘inhumane’ dish. Melissa Lwee, The Straits Times, April 4, 2003.

Proposed Hedgehog Cull Draws Protests

Animal rights activists and Scottish Natural Heritage are fighting over a proposed cull of the hedgehog population on the island of North Uist.

The island is home to about 200 hedgehogs, and the Scottish Natural Heritage has a single goal in mind — trap and kill them all. The hedgehogs are not native to the island and SNH maintains that they are jeopardizing the island’s native bird species. An SNH spokesman told The Scotsman,

Urgen action is needed to protection the internationally important native birds of the island. The hedgehogs are not native to the islands, and have been eating huge numbers of birds eggs.

Advocates for Animals’ Ross Minnett wants the opportunity to capture the animals and take them to the mainland. He told The Scotsman,

. . . we are still appealing to SNH to hand over any hedgehogs they catch to us so they can be relocated to the mainland. There really is no reason for them to be killed when we have everything read and in place to deal with them.

The SNH has opposed releasing the hedgehogs on the mainland because the animals are strongly territorial and the mainland already has plenty of hedgehogs — it estimates that up to 40 percent of the island hedgehogs and 20% of the mainland hedgehogs would be killed in intraspecies fighting if the animals are transplanted. As a spokesman for SNH puts it,

Some believe they will be ‘rescuing’ hedgehogs. They could in fact end up ‘rescuing’ animals from a humane death to condemn them to a slow and painful death. Both groups will end up killing hedgehogs. We’re just being upfront about it.

SNH is also carrying out a mink cull on another of the islands in the Uists.


Hedgehog cull gets go-ahead despite rescue bid by activists. Jeremy Watson, The Scotsman, March 30, 2003.

Uist goes to war over hedgehogs galore. John MacLeod, Sunday Times (London), March 30, 2003.

Anti-Fur Activist Yvonne Taylor Ready to Go to Jail — Don't Let Us Stop You, Yvonne

Scottish animal rights activist Yvonne Taylor made quite a splash in Paris recently with her efforts to disrupt fashion shows. The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals member disrupted a Gaultier fashion show by jumping on the runway holding a banner reading “Fur Kills” while she chanted “Fur is dead” (thankfully the crowd was spared the sight of her naked body, unlike the poor citizens in Beijing who were subjected to that display).

In an interview with Scottish newspaper The Herald, Taylor said she is afraid of being arrested and possibly spending time in prison, but is ready to go to jail if that’s what it takes,

Although I’m petrified, it’s nothing compared to what these animals go through. When a model is on the catwalk wearing fur, all I can see is an animal suffering. If I thought about consequences I’d never do anything. Prison is always a possibility, but I just can’t think about it.

Don’t worry, with a bit of luck Taylor will have plenty of time to think about it at some point.

Not that she’d be missing much. According to The Herald, Taylor is a professional protester who “has turned her back on a nine-to-five job and instead campaigns for animal rights” full time. In addition to stripping and chanting for PETA, she is a coordinator with the Scotland-based Advocates for Animals.

Taylor adds that she plans to do this for the rest of her life,

I will never stop. Even when I’m an old lady I will drop my clothes to keep fur off people’s backs.

Probably beats seeing Bruce Friedrich streaking for some nonsense, but not by much. But the important point here is that she is exactly right — she will have to be taking her clothes off when she’s 80 because the fur industry will still be around and going strong. At least Taylor understands the futility of her little stunts.


Fur protester ready to go to jail for the cause. Catherine Lyst, The Herald (Scotland), March 12, 2003.

Naked fur protesters freed. The BBC, October 24, 2002.

PETA Activists Confront Gaultier on the Catwalk. Press Release, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, March 3, 2003.