Letters to the editor – January 22, 2021

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Fishing industry deserves better


Remember the closing stages of the Brexit negotiations?

Boris Johnson pretended he was holding out to get the best deal for fishermen. In the end he agreed a deal that the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation described as ‘desperately poor’ and ‘the worst of both worlds’.

Fishermen are restricted to catch fewer fish in most key species. Lorries carrying stocks that have been caught were left to sit at Larkhall – unable to penetrate the new fog of bureaucracy. Scottish fishermen are forced to land the fish they can catch in Denmark, which is grim news for Scottish fish processors.

Instead of trying to fix the problem, Tory Minister Jacob Rees-Mogg says the fish are happier to be British. Of course they are – the fishermen aren’t catching them.

The Tories must sort out this mess they have created. Our fishermen and fish processing workers deserve better than silly remarks about happy fish.

Councillor Alan Reid, Cowal ward

Holding up exports


In order to avoid fishermen being adversely impacted by export delays, Scottish Conservatives leader Douglas Ross has called on the UK Government to bring forward compensation to the affected fishermen and deliver it immediately.

The SNP government must also accept responsibility and deal with ongoing issues involving their agency, Food Standards Scotland, which are holding up exports within Scotland.

Both of Scotland’s governments must work together to deliver for Scottish fishermen.

We in the Scottish Conservatives will back Scotland’s fishing communities all the way.

Councillor Alastair Redman, Kintyre and the Islands ward 

Appeal for foxes


The Scottish SPCA is appealing to animal lovers in Scotland to donate much-needed food to its National Wildlife Rescue Centre in Fishcross, Alloa.

Scotland’s animal welfare charity had its busiest ever year in 2019 with over 11,000 wildlife casualties admitted.

The pandemic caused quite a significant drop in the number of animals arriving at the wildlife hospital. Over 7,000 wild animals were brought to the centre in 2020.

As we are entering fox cub season, we are appealing for Pedigree puppy food and puppy milk.

Last year, we cared for 76 foxes, of which 39 were cubs. It can be a struggle to keep up with so many hungry mouths to feed.

We expect to be even busier with admissions this year so we need help from members of the public.

If anyone can help with food for these young mammals, we would appreciate anything that people can spare.

Puppy meat can be purchased from the wildlife centre’s Amazon wishlist http://amzn.to/39xkU3e.

Steven Gray Scottish SPCA National Wildlife Rescue Centre manager

Plan yourself healthy


New Year resolutions can be a good starting point for making longer term health and lifestyle improvements, but most people do not stick to them. Reasons for quitting include a lack of time, a lack of support from other people and feeling daunted by unrealistic targets.

Often, goals are unachievable because they are too difficult, or they do not allow enough time for you to make gradual changes.

There is nothing wrong with aiming high and being ambitious, but it is important that your goal is not too difficult or time-consuming as this could leave you feeling daunted.

Ask yourself the following questions: Is the goal too ambitious?; Is the timeframe realistic?; What specific changes do I need to make?; Can I fit my new healthy behaviour around my other commitments?

Breaking large goals down into smaller goals can make them feel more achievable and less daunting.

For example, if you are aiming to lose weight, the NHS recommends that you aim to lose around 1 to 2lbs (0.5 to 1kg) a week. You should be able to achieve this by cutting down your calorie intake by about 500 to 600 calories each day. It might take longer than planned to lose the weight, but you are more likely to stick to it and not give up.

Plan how you will achieve your goal and what changes you will make to ensure you stick to it. There are online resources available to help you plan your healthy activities, such as the NHS couch to 5km programme or the NHS programmes for stopping smoking, cutting down alcohol and losing weight.

Try to be patient and don’t expect the results from just one or two weeks of dieting to show on the weighing scales, as it may take longer.

A good way to motivate you is to involve other people. If you know someone who has a similar goal to yours, try to involve them as a ‘buddy’ to provide mutual support.

They may even be able to push you a little bit harder, helping you to achieve your goals sooner. Look for groups on social media who share your goal.

If you miss a fitness session or have an alcoholic drink, cigarette or bar of chocolate, try not to feel guilty. Think about what might have triggered the deviation from your goal and try to avoid it in future. Forgive yourself and aim to get back to achieving your goal as soon as possible.

On average, it takes between 21 and 28 days for something to become a long-term habit. Make goals that you want to be able to stick to long term, such as improving your overall fitness, stopping smoking or maintaining your weight.

If you can make it through these first few weeks, you will notice that things will become much easier.

Dr Helen Flaherty, head of health promotion and education, Heart Research UK