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Our work has brought about legislative change and a shift in public attitude towards greater empathy and compassion for animals.

Seals get more legal protection

Following our determined and intensive work we achieved increased legal protection for seals in Scottish waters under the Marine (Scotland) Bill in 2010.

The Bill, which replaces the outdated Conservation of Seals Act 1970, was strengthened and passed on February 4 2010 by the Scottish Parliament:

  • Seals can no longer be shot without a licence to do so
  • A requirement to use non-lethal methods of excluding or deterring seals before a seal licence is granted
  • Welfare conditions are to be placed on licences meaning that seals cannot be shot: by untrained marksmen; in bad visibility; from over a set distance away; from an unstable platform; and measures must be taken to reduce the risk of seals suffering unnecessarily when shot. The type of firearm which must be used is specified and there are conditions regarding the recovery of carcases.
  • The law specifies that the Government can prohibit the killing of seals at certain times such as the breeding seasons when seals may be heavily pregnant or have dependent pups
  • Seals are protected from intentional or reckless harassment at a haul-out site
  • The numbers of seals killed under a licence must be reported quarterly
  • The licensing regime will be formally reviewed every five years.

75% of people in Scotland wanted a complete ban on killing any seals, especially during their breeding seasons. Although these measures fall short of the complete ban on shooting, they are a significant improvement. In addition anybody wishing to shoot a seal will finally have to account for the number shot, and the reasons for doing so.

Our supporters sent tens of thousands of messages to MSPs asking them to vote for better legal protection for seals. Celebrities that supported our campaign included Queen rock legend Brian May and TV naturalists Chris Packham and Terry Nutkins.

Together, we improved protection for Scotland's seals and we look forward to the day when these beautiful creatures are no longer persecuted.

Thousands of hedgehogs saved

Our work resulted in an end to the killing of hedgehogs on the Scottish Uist islands and the ongoing relocation and release on the mainland of thousands of hedgehogs.

We joined with other animal and wildlife organisations in 2003 to oppose the killing of hedgehogs on the Scottish Outer Hebrides islands of North Uist, Benbecula and South Uist. We successfully achieved an end to the killing and have been working with the Scottish Government to relocate thousands of hedgehogs ever since. To date we have released around 1500 hedgehogs on the Scottish mainland to live out their lives.

Dogs keep their tails

Thanks to our high-profile 'I have a Tail to Tell' initiative the tail-docking of all dogs became illegal in May 2007 under the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006. Tail-docking is an unnecessary and painful mutilation.

Pedigree dog welfare exposed

We were ahead of the pack when our 2006 Price of a Pedigree Report examined and exposed how genetic diseases cause suffering and reduced quality of life for pedigree dogs and called for changes in irresponsible dog breeding. The BBC’s Pedigree Dogs Exposed went on to reveal this major problem to millions of viewers. As a result, action is now being taken to address this important welfare issue.

Wild mammals no longer hunted

Years of dedicated and persistent work led to an end to the hunting of wild mammals with dogs in Scotland as a result of the Protection of Wild Mammals (Scotland) Act 2002. We worked closely with other animal welfare organisations to achieve the passing of this historic legislation which ended the chasing and killing of foxes with packs of dogs and the setting of dogs to chase and kill hares. Thanks to our success these wild animals are better protected.

This Scottish law paved the way for the UK Government to follow in 2004 by passing the Hunting Act for England and Wales.