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Seals: Hunting

Volume 474: debated on Wednesday 2 April 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment his Department has made of the European Food Safety Authority's December 2007 report on the animal welfare aspects of seal hunting. (198668)

Seal management is a devolved matter. My Department has noted the findings and recommendations of the European Food Safety Authority's December 2007 report Animal Welfare Aspects of the killing and skinning of seals.

There is no commercial or recreational hunting of seals in England. Government policy is to permit only limited local management of seals where specific interactions between individual seals and particular fisheries or fish farms may result in serious damage to fisheries or property.

The Government fully implement the requirements of the EU Habitats Directive, including prohibiting the use of certain methods of killing seals. The limited seal management undertaken is broadly in line with the relevant general recommendations of the EFSA report.