Petition to ban flying rings

Let’s ban flying rings. Curiosity can kill: A Parliamentary Petition has been launched to save seals by banning the sale of plastic flying ring toys! Click here for the petition link. Please sign to save seals from suffering. Say ‘NO to the O’! Rings are horrid, only use solid!

UPDATE: With a general election called for 04/07/24 the petition has been closed.
We will regroup ready for the next parliament.
Please do continue to read more about the issue below.

Our once in a lifetime chance to ban flying ring toys

The Seal Alliance Executive work tirelessly to promote the protection of our globally rare Atlantic Grey and European Harbour seals. Seal Alliance groups around the UK drafted a vital petition to ban the sale of plastic flying ring toys in order to protect these beautiful sea mammals from unnecessary suffering.
The petition was launched by Seal Alliance member and founder of the Flying Rings campaign Jenny Hobson. Jenny also volunteers at one of the RSPCA’s wildlife centres, and five years ago she saw at first hand a seal rescued from a pink plastic flying ring that had been deeply embedded around her neck.

Jenny and Pinkafo’s story

Jenny says ‘I was helping out on an evening shift when Friends of Horsey Seals (FoHS), a Norfolk Seal Charity, brought in an adult grey seal they had rescued with a pink flying ring toy deeply embedded into her neck. Pinkafo, as she was named, was close to death. When I saw what a terrible state she was in, I felt I had to do something to stop this happening to other seals.’

Photo of Pinkafo with a flying ring around her neck. We need to ban flying ring toys.
Pinkafo at death’s door: Photo by M Perring

Pinkafo is not the only one!

Since then, at least 34 more seals have been spotted caught in plastic flying ring toys which is a general term for any type of throwing ring with a hole, including dog toy rings. Click here to access Jenny’s collated report about these seals. Let’s ban flying ring toys.

See what Seal Alliance members say

Sue Sayer MBE from the Seal Research Trust and Chair of the Seal Alliance advises: ‘Since Pinkafo, we have seen many seal casualties being strangled by plastic rings around the UK. Young seals learn through play and are curious and inquisitive. They explore these lost rings as they float in the water column. Before they know it, the seal becomes entangled in the ring which gets stuck over its head. As the young seal grows, it suffers horrific and painful injuries over months and sometimes years, which is a huge welfare issue. Unless rescued (and sadly this is not always possible) their entanglement will likely to lead to prolongued suffering before a premature death. We have been writing to manufacturers and talking to retailers and sharing posters to raise awareness about the issue. Now we need action to ban the sale of these risky flying ring toys, especially as there are perfectly good alternative solid disc, or x shaped toys, to play with instead’.

Evangelos Achilleos Manager of RSPCA East Winch Wildlife Centre reports: ‘The cost of treating and rehabilitating an adult seal with an entanglement injury such as that caused by a plastic flying ring ranges between £10,000 to £15,000’.

Lots of retailer and vet support to ban flying rings
‘The campaign has gained support from the public when they have seen distressing images of the injured seals. A number of small independent retailers have stopped selling flying rings (that cost as little as £1) to protect the seals, as well as some bigger ones including Tesco’s, Asda in their coastal stores, WH Smith, Pets at Home, The Works in their coastal stories and CVS vets chain of over 600 practices. However, thousands of plastic flying rings continue to be ordered, imported and supplied to shops across the country and most beach visitors are unaware of the potential danger they pose to seals and other wildlife. A dolphin in the USA has been photographed with a flying ring around its neck as well as a sealion in South Africa. Let’s ban flying ring toys.

We can still enjoy throwing solid discs to each other and for dogs
The Seal Alliance reassures people that signing the petition won’t remove the entertainment of using throwing toys, it merely identifies the safe established alternative of solid plaste like discs (preferably bio-degradable ones). A successful petition would successfully ban flying ring toys.
Amazingly after months of treatment and care by the RSPCA team at East Winch, Pinkafo was able to be released back onto her beach. Most seals are not so lucky.’

Please sign and share the parliamentary petition link and / or QR code

Peter Ansell MBE and Chair of Friends of Horsey Seals urges everyone: ‘Please vote now! Friends of Horsey Seals fully support this petition, it is a simple solution to remove at least one of the many hazards involving seals slowly being choked to death by floating debris in the sea and deserves massive support from the public.’ Click here for the petition link. Please sign to save seals from suffering.

QR code to petition to ban flying ring toys.
Scan this QR code to access the parliamentary petition directly. Thank you!

No matter how many social media followers you have, please consider sharing this petition with all your friends and family. Click here to access our sample social media content for you to get started. Let’s ban flying rings, ‘Say NO to the O‘ and ‘Plastic rings are horrid, only use solid‘!

The Seal Alliance: A shared, collaborative voice for seals in the UK

The Seal Alliance is a collective of regional organisations focused on marine conservation work with seals. All executive member groups support this petition and are promoting it in their area. Set up by the Seal Protection Action Group, Executive Members have decades of experience protecting seals and include:

• British Divers Marine Life Rescue
• Cornwall Seal Group Research Trust
• Dorset Seal Project
• Friends of Horsey Seals
• Gower Seal Group
• Kent Wildlife Trust
• Norfolk Seal Group
• Seal Protection Action Group
• Seal Research Trust
• Solent Seal Project
• St. Mary’s Island Wildlife Conservation Society
• Thames Seal Watch
• The Seal Project
• Yorkshire Seal Group

The most important thing you can do is free! Please sign the petition. Keep up to date by clicking here to sign up for our monthy free newsletters. You can also help us continue to give seals a voice by donating whatever amount you can afford, or by leaving us a legacy, towards our vital marine conservation work with seals. Small donations make a big difference with a small, self funding charity like ourselves. You can also buy gifts for family and friends from our ‘One stop, online sealy shop!’ all year round! We only have 1.5 full time equivalent paid people in our whole charity to support, train, look after, feedback to and thank our hundreds of incredible volunteer seal ambassadors! Thank you from seals everywhere.