Inuit sealskins come to the rescue of Scotland’s under-threat sporran industry

By Oliver Farrimond

SCOTLAND’S under-threat sporran industry has seen help arrive from an unlikely quarter – Eskimos.

Faced with tough anti-sealskin EU legislation, fears have been widespread that the quality of Highland dress sporrans would suffer.

But a legal loophole means that sporran manufacturers may be able to import the material from the indigenous Arctic peoples.

EU rules mean that Inuits can still sell and export sealskin as it is considered a vital part of their culture. Continue reading

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Whisky heavyweight in legal feud with US supplier

By Oliver Farrimond

LEADING Scots whisky firm Whyte & Mackay are embroiled in a major legal battle with their American distributors.

Following a successful 16-year partnership, Whyte & Mackay and stateside distributors Capstone have fallen out over an alleged unpaid sum of £240,000.

The row started when Whyte & Mackay started negotiations to buy Capstone earlier this year.

After discovering allegedly faulty paperwork in the distributors’ books, the whisky group sought to terminate the contract, claiming for unpaid fees of £240,000 for supplied whisky.

And now Capstone have counterclaimed for $10 million of damages, citing wrongful termination of their contract. Continue reading

Scottish schoolchildren spines under pressure by heavy school bags

By Oliver Farrimond

OVERBURDENED Scottish schoolchildren could face a future of debilitating spine problems unless school-bag loads are lightened, according to doctors.

Reports have emerged of a rise in spinal disfigurement conditions – such as Scoliosis – as a result of lugging around heavy backpacks in Scottish schools.

Experts also point to the plastic seating many schoolchildren have to sit in as a contributing cause of back pain amongst children.

And now spinal charities are calling for an “urgent overview” into the problem. Continue reading

Scottish salmon under threat from Frankenfish

By Oliver Farrimond

SCOTLAND’S £1 billion salmon-farming industry is under threat from a new breed of Frankenstein Fish.

Genetically-modified salmon could soon be up for sale after American scientists declared the super-salmon safe to eat.

And now the US Food and Drug Administration are due to decided on whether they can be bred in farms.

The introduction of the salmon – which can be bred twice as fast as regular salmon – would have a “serious negative impact” on Scottish farmed salmon. Continue reading

Outcry as pooch owners face hefty fees to reclaim missing pets

By Oliver Farrimond

SCOTS dog-owners are facing steep charges to reclaim their beloved pets if they go missing.

The price of claiming back missing pets can be up to £300, and animal welfare groups have inundated with complaints.

If unclaimed, the pets can be sold on or even destroyed.

Animal Concern spokesman John Collins called the situation “heartbreaking”.

He said: “Many people, especially the elderly and those on low incomes, will find it very difficult to make the repeated trips to animal welfare centres looking for their dog. Continue reading