Scotland prides itself on being a relatively progressive country. It certainly has tougher conservation and animal welfare laws than the rest of the UK. Wildlife crimes that people can commit with impunity in England, for example, could, and often would, lead to arrest, prosecution and even prison in Scotland.
This makes it all the more shocking that a grotesque gannet chick eating contest has started on the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides, organised by a local football club. Contestants race to guzzle half a chick in the least amount of time.
This would be illegal anywhere else in Scotland – seabirds are protected. But the residents of Ness district get a special licence to slaughter some 2,000 gannets a year, supposedly in the name of tradition. Hitting gannet chicks with sticks is a “tradition” we could do without.
Tell the local council that the 21st century started a while ago and demand they ban the killing of seabird chicks, full stop.
We the undersigned are dismayed that Ness FC Social Club has decided that a gannet chick eating contest is a good idea. Seabirds are protected everywhere else in Scotland and gannets are certainly not a pest.
This grotesque contest draws attention to the fact that the residents of Ness district get a special license to slaughter some 2,000 gannets a year, something that should have been banned a long time ago. The way the chicks are killed also raises serious animal welfare issues.
It is time that the killing of seabirds for no real reason ended. Nobody in Scotland leads a subsistence life and this practice is completely unnecessary. It is also extremely embarrassing.
Please close this loophole immediately.