Seal safety campaign needs ‘shock and awe’, say councillors

PUBLISHED: 19:54 03 December 2019 | UPDATED: 08:16 04 December 2019

Councillors have heard about a charity's efforts to protect seals. Pictures: Ed Marshall

Councillors have heard about a charity's efforts to protect seals. Pictures: Ed Marshall

Ed Marshall

A wildlife charity have been urged to make a seal safety campaign more hard-hitting, after councillors said the images lacked “shock and awe”.

Friends of Horsey Seals (FoHS) have produced a leaflet to encourage beach goers to take their plastic rings home and not to throw them I l the sea, after young seals have been found with the rings digging into their flesh.

At a meeting of King's Lynn and West Norfolk Borough Council's (KLWNBC) environment panel on Tuesday, December 3, Jennifer Hobson, from FoHS, presented the campaign to councillors.

The leaflet states: "It seems the younger seals find these flying rings in the sea and being inquisitive animals they play with them and put their heads through the hole.

"The seals can't get the flying rings off.

"As the young seals grow the rings dig into their flesh causing painful wounds that can be fatal."

Labour councillor Charles Joyce said: "While the message is good the messenger is missing a trick.

"If you have a picture of a happy seal with a collar around its neck it will convince Joe Public - who hasn't read your leaflet and will never read your leaflet - that he should give it a go.

"That is a real problem that a lot of campaigns have. They don't want to upset people - you do need to upset people. You need to say 'no, stop it'.

"It's a hard message we're trying to put out."

"David Attenborough had the shock and awe factor with the whale and the plastics."

Colin Rose, from the Independent group, added: "You've got an average of nine seconds to get your message across in an advertising campaign."

While Julian Kirk, Conservative councillor, said: "Another problem we've got is the crabbing lines where they are it's a nightmare for seals. Could the council control the use of those?"

He added: "It's difficult to get a photo of a seal with a ring ok because it's not until you take it off that you see the damage."

And Sandra Squire, on the Independent group, added: "80pc of marine litter does come from the land.

"These things can float. If they end up in our rivers they end up in our oceans."

FoHS thanked the councillors for their feedback on the leaflet.

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