Jenny Hobson and her husband Richard have just got back from sailing around Britain. Two weeks after Richard retired, they set off from Portsmouth for a six month adventure. On their way they saw minke whales and a golden eagle chick and survived high winds all in a bid to raise publicity for the Flying Ring Campaign.
I heard about Jenny’s adventure whilst writing an article about the grey seal colony in Norfolk and how they have thousands of pups on Norfolk’s beaches every year. Jenny’s campaign is all about seals. Flying rings are like frisbees, only with a hole in the middle. Naturally curious animals, the simple toys get stuck around the neck of adolescent seals as they investigate what it is. As the young animal grows, the disk becomes embedded in its skin. As an RSPCA volunteer, Jenny was on volunteer duty at East Winch Animal Hospital when a seal with a flying ring injury was brought in. The adult female was so severely injured that they weren’t sure she’d survive the night. Horrified, she sought the support of Friends of Horsey Seals, applied for some funding and started leafleting beachside towns and villages.
The campaign has already been very successful. With all the local councils on the Norfolk coast involved, Tesco, Pets at Home and some independent shops have ceased selling the toy. But there’s still more to do. Other chain stores still stock them, and obviously people can buy them elsewhere and bring them to the beach. Plus, all waters are connected, so if someone loses a flying ring in Scotland, a seal in Cornwall or Norfolk might find it.
That’s why there’s a government petition to ban the toy completely. UK citizens or residents: please sign it. If it can reach a sufficient number of signatures by the end of October, it will be debated in Parliament - at least giving some much-needed publicity to this simple yet important campaign.
SIGN THE PETITION HERE
There are alternatives to flying rings. A solid frisbee (better yet, a biodegradable one) makes a far safer toy!
Jenny’s commitment to this cause is a lesson to me. That one person CAN make a difference (and that people can have adventures even when they’re not quite so young any more. I know, I know, I always get touchy about getting old near my birthday, stand by for the blog post about my next bucket list…). Please sign the petition, don't buy a flying ring and spread the message. It's so simple.
Have you signed? Can you think of other people that have fought a one-person campaign? Comment below.