Press Release - 07/06/2012
In September of 2011, we attended an international stakeholders meeting in Windhoek which was convened by the country's ombudsman, Adv. John Walters. The purpose of this meeting was to discuss the legalities and the methods of slaughter employed regarding the annual massacre of Cape Fur seals in that country. The ombudsman would then release a report so as to determine the future of slaughtering seals in Namibia.
At the time, we suspected the meeting was a delay tactic employed by the Namibian government to ease off the pressure from ourselves and especially our calls for an international boycott of the country based on the cruelty aspects involved. This delay would then allow the government to proceed with another year of illegal slaughtering in 2012. We raised our concerns regarding this issue on our website.
Lack of transparency is nothing new to the Namibian seal slaughter so, with our suspicions raised, we delivered a petition with 22 000 signatures from the international community calling on Adv. Walters to institute a moratorium on all seal culling activity until such stage as he could make an informed decision. This moratorium would be based on the uncertainty principle and would prevent Namibia from further potentially violating any laws should it be found that the massacre is indeed illegal. (Which we firmly believe it to be.)
We decided to give the ombudsman the benefit of the doubt. We had hoped that the government would honour their responsibilities and would work with Adv. Walters in assisting him to complete his report timeously. In email correspondence sent from his office it was promised that his report would then be released in March.
We were then informed that the ombudsman was unable to proceed with this report as he was awaiting the results of an aerial survey which was undertaken in December of 2011. Once again, a postponement was set for the end of May. Again, we raised our concerns not only via our website but also in direct correspondence with both the Office of the Namibian Ombudsman as well as the media. Adv. Walters replied to our concerns via a statement in the press where he assured us that no stall tactics were being employed.
Subsequent to this, Bernard Esau, the Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources has disregarded the investigation into this barbaric savagery by increasing the number of rights holders from three to six. In doing so, Minister Esau has shown contempt for any possible findings of the ombudsman, regardless of what the outcome may be. Furthermore, we question how the Minister can claim to be harvesting seals in a responsible and sustainable manner when no complete population data exists on the species since 2007. Can the Minister kindly explain to the good people of Namibia on what basis he is making this judgement? Would he kindly explain why he is ploughing ahead with no scientific data, slaughtering the countries second largest tourist attraction and creating an international uproar to the detriment of the county's economy?
We are now well into June. The illegal and unscientific massacre of the country's national asset is around the corner. Still, we have no word or response from Adv Walters. If anything, we have a bunch of misinformed individuals, masquerading as conservationists, trying to discredit reputable organizations with some twisted smear campaign and lobbying the government to declare us as terrorists when all we are interested in is the welfare of a species that has suffered a 98% loss of habitat and has barely survived seven major mass die offs in 16 years.
We also fail to see the need for Adv. Walters to even consider a population survey when the purpose of the meeting was to discuss the legalities and the methods of "harvest." Surely, if it was shown in no uncertain terms there are gross violations of the law occurring, then any population data should be insignificant and the bloodbath called off immediately. If the purpose of the meeting was to establish the size of the seal population, the legalities and the method of "harvest" then by all means await this survey. But to continue dilly dallying while the country suffers from increased calls for an economic consumer boycott can be likened to the situation where Nero fiddled while Rome burned.
The situation is so utterly ridiculous that we have no alternative but to ask the question "Was the Ombudsman's meeting nothing but a complete farce?"
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Subsequent (edited) press article HERE
A few weeks ago I was honoured to receive a call from Francois Hugo from Seal Alert SA. Francois suggested I travel to Namibia and deliver an informative presentation to the media on his behalf. This would leave no doubt as to the status of the Cape Fur Seal species and would hopefully apply pressure on the Namibian govt to end the annual massacre.
I initially wasn't really sure what to expect but spent a few intensive days with Francois going over the information and material. Over 950 slides had to be considered and the presentation had to be formatted. It was an amazing learning curve for me and it soon became clear to me that the sitution is far worse than I imagined.
The Cape Fur seal should be immediately re-evaluted by means of an independent survey and its status on IUCN be upgraded to "threatened" It has barely survived seven major mass die offs and has seen a 98% loss of habitat in the last 60 years.
Professional photographer Nicci Mc Cormack and myself jetted out of Cape Town to Windhoek on Sunday morning. We had a vague plan, no accom and a mission to complete. On Francois' advice we booked in at the Airport Lodge. Very quaint little place, and although the website mentions conference facilities there are none available. Our hosts were businessman Brian Black and his lovely wife Hermien. Brian is friends with the Minister of Trade and Industry, Hermien works as a clerk in the Ministry of Finance.
Monday we discovered that a taxi 15km into town is N$250. That's just nuts when you can hike a lift for N$10 pp. We got a lift into Windhoek with Brian on his way to work. Hiking would soon become our routine as taxi's on our limited budget are too extreme. Armed with a mountain of local news papers, Nicci and I set about planning and logistics. We needed to contact all the senior reporters as well as radio stations. We needed to arrange a venue and we needed to find our way around a totally foreign city.
By lunch we had contacted most of the major media houses. The response was fantastic. Seal culling was never really major news in Namibia, but betw
een Francois Hugo, The Seals of Nam and our international affiliates, this small country is being hammered by the media. From the outset, Francois told me repeatedly that this mission was not to push any political agenda, we were not there as antagonists... all we were doing was presenting the facts using government statistics.
That afternoon we secured the conference facilities of the Furstenhof Hotel, fairly reasonable price of N$1000. We headed back to our desert retreat to plot and scheme. This involved dining on a fine packet of peanuts for dinner, putting the final touches to the presentation, checking camera equipment and deciding what to do with ourselves.
Tuesday morning started with a brief interview with Radio Kosmos. It felt quite strange listening to my own interview on the 12 o clock news while we were catching a lift into town. I burned copies of the presentation onto disc for the media and we went to get settled. By now I had learned that cameraman and film maker Bart Smithers was to join us. Bart is responsible for some of the You-tube footage on the Namibian hunt.
Not all the members of the media who promised to come did. That aside, the atmosphere in the beginning was amicable. To my surprise they all sat through a very heavy, comprehensive 2 hour presentation, much of it not even dealing with Namibia but South Africa and the historical perspective. Opening the presentation was a video message from the spiritual leader Supreme Master Ching Hai. Wearing vegan fur, she gave fitting tribute to Francois' endevours, called on government to work with activists and provided solutions and alternatives to the massacre. Her eloquence is amazing especially when she refers to the seals that glorify the coast of Namibia.
The question and answer session was not entirely as I anticipated. I feel more attention was given to non-profit organizations financial status than to the issue at hand, the collapse of a CITES II listed species and governments failure to respond accordingly. Instead of acknowledging an obvious mistake, they introduce the highest cull quota in history of the species and attack those that try to save them.
Tuesday ended with a very disappointing meal at a local eatery. Bart, Nicci and myself discussed the presentation, the current situation and how we can possibly come up with a solution. Not for ourselves who are concerned environmentalists, but for Namibia and its people. Why are they killing off such an amazing opportunity, tarnishing their international reputation and ignoring the species as being overpopulated when it has barely scraped through seven major mass die offs in 16 years? It just doesn't make sense.
Wednesday began with coffee and the thumbing of a cheap lift into town. We purchased the morning papers. Republikein produced a fair article. I can't read German, but saw a small article in Algemeine Zeitung. Now New Era, the government owned paper printed a LENGTHY letter to the editor written by some clueless individual. This chap, a supposed Doctor, raves on about colonial oppression and the sovereign right to butcher an endangered species. He ignores his countries own legislation, he advocates selling toxic seal meat collected in unhygenic conditions and in violation of CITES requirements to foreigners and he expects us to take him seriously? He should rather revert to selling love potions and snake charms. Sadly that's what I have come to expect from a state owned propaganda tabloid rag attempting to compete with mainstream journalists.
So we took our papers to the park. Bart took some footage which he may or may not use in his documentary before flying out on the next plane Wednesday afternoon. Nicci and I went around Windhoek getting ourselves familiar with the lay of the land. Namdeb, the police stations, main roads, where the press are, state veterinarian etc.
Now as I mentioned earlier, a taxi is N$250 to our hotel. The taxis are marked by a large number on the doors and review windscreen. eg T293-6 These taxis are not allowed outside the city. So the taxi drivers are heckling. I tell them N$50. The one wants to go home, he says N$60 and he'll take us both. To cancel out the large numbers on his taxi, he pulls out a roll of plumbers tape and proceeds to stick an X over the number. Although the identifying mark is clearly visible, the X over it cancels it out. Our taxi is now ready to leave the CBD. Crazy. Even at the roadblock, here we are obviously using the vehicle as a taxi, but because of this little taped X its fine.
Thursday morning we had a private chat to a reporter from The Namibian before going off to see Adv John Walters. He was not available so we went looking for the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources. We had called them the day before, been passed from one department to another, left umpteen messages and nobody gets back in touch. So we went to see them personally. It's like you just can't get a straight answer out of anybody. Watch the undercover footage here Eventually we ran out of time
The reason they are not giving out the population statistics is because a true survey would show massive declines. This is why the seals have suffered several mass die offs in recent years. Each time the government has admitted to being worse than the previous. Put bluntly, we believe the species to be vulnerable to climate change, we acknowledge that each time the species population is reduced by between a half to a third, we acknowledge that using government supplied statistics, (which we don't dispute entirely) the seals are in danger.
But what the government fail to realise is the unnatural growth at Cape Cross, Atlas Bay and Wolf Bay, the ONLY places where culling is taking place, is giving a false sense as to what is happening. Graphs are constructed to show the species growing at a healthy 4%. BUT the natural habitat, the offshore islands, well now here is where the species is facing a more than 90% loss in habitat. Pup production on some islands has, without mans interference from culling, dropped by more than 80% while other offshore islands have already gone extinct. With that kind of loss in habitat, we don't have much faith in the seals and seabirds protection act. We feel that this animal, the one animal seen the most by foreign tourists to Southern Africa, should be reclassified as its current "Least Concern" is based on a misrepresentation of a graph. These fur seals, the only species found on the coast of Africa have suffered seven major mass die offs. They have already been hunted to the verge of extinction in the 1800's. They should be afforded far more protection.
After that, well we packed up and came back home. I do believe way more could be achieved if there was a team stationed permanently in Namibia. We hope to deploy a Beach Master Team to monitor the start of the cull season. Interested volunteers can mail us TheSealsOfNam@gmail.com
Friday we hooked up with Francois. He is happy with the steps taken and agrees that the ideal would be to have someone on the ground over a few months at least.
If anyone would like to join the team or sponsor a volunteer, they can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
In closing, I would personally like to thank Francois for the opportunity. Without his contribution this would not have happened.
As you are aware, there is much controversy being debated with regards to the harvesting of seals in Namibia. We had hoped that the Ombudsman's meeting in September would have allowed for unbiased reporting on the situation, however Adv. Walters excluded the media from attending.
In the interest of clearing up any misinformation, and to allow the media a fair opportunity to see for themselves the reality of the situation, Francois Hugo of Seal Alert SA has kindly offered to host the media at a special conference to be held in Cape Town.
The importance of this meeting cannot be understated. We hereby extend an invite to the major media houses to send a senior reporter to join us at this conference. There will be no obligation on their part as to how they wish to report on the presentation.
As your host, Seal Alert SA will welcome you to its seal rescue facilities in Hout Bay where you can interact with seals of all ages and get a true understanding as to the nature and behaviour of these animals. This will be followed by a media presentation and a Q&A session.
We are also inviting all stakeholders who attended the ombudsman's meeting in September of 2011 to join us. This will give them an opportunity to submit their written presentations to the media who may also wish to direct further questions during the Q&A session.
The provisional date for this conference has been set for Monday 16 April 2012. However, if this notice period is too short; and in order to accommodate the majority, an alternate date 30 April 2012 has been proposed.
Any interested reporters are asked to respond as a matter of urgency so that we may begin with the necessary arrangements. Please include the name and contact details of your designated senior reporter who will be attending, which date would be the more convenient as well as particulars regarding dietary requirements. (Halal, Kosher, Vegetarian etc.)
All queries can be directed to Pat Dickens. Email address TheSealsOfNam@gmail.com
On behalf of "The Seals Of Nam" and "Seal Alert SA" we look forward to hearing from you.
Press Release 05 March 2012
Namibia is responsible for the largest slaughter of wildlife on earth, surpassing even the Canadian hunt in animals killed. Each year, 85 000 Cape Fur seal pups, a threatened species listed on Appendix II of CITES, are savagely beaten to death. Their pelts are sold for a mere $7. A further 6 000 adult bull seals are shot at point blank range so that their penises can be used to make ineffective aphrodisiacs.
The annual massacre is in direct violation of the country's Animal Protection Act which clearly states it is an offence to "overload, overdrive, override, ill-treat, neglect, infuriate, torture or maim or cruelly beat, kick, goad or terrify any animal." Internationally recognised scientists, including Dr. S. Kirkman (Phd Cape Fur Seals, UCT) and Dr. D. Lavigne (Science adviser to International Fund for Animal Welfare) have concluded that the method of slaughter is cruel, inhumane and causes unnecessary suffering.
The Namibian government blame the seals for a drop in fish stocks. Since independence, Namibia increased their annual fisheries harvest from 300 thousand tons to 600 thousand tons without doing any sustainability studies. It has been scientifically proven that over fishing and global warming are the cause of reduced catches. When South Africa ended their seal clubbing program in 1990, well managed fish stocks were not adversely affected by the seals, even though South Africa maintains a larger commercial fishing fleet than Namibia. In December of 2011, the Namibian Minister of Fisheries, Hon. Bernard Esau blatantly ignored warnings from his own scientists and increased quotas for pilchards once more.
The USA, Mexico, the 27 nations of the European Union and Russia have all banned the import of seal products based on the inherent cruelty. Less than 100 people are seasonally employed in the Namibian massacre. Their human dignity is assaulted in that they are forced to beat several hundred baby animals to death each day. They earn below minimum wage and live in makeshift shacks. Domestic violence is common, drug and alcohol abuse rife. By comaprison, Hatem Yavuz, the main buyer of Cape Fur seal pelts, lives the high life of a multi-millionaire. He sucks the money out of Namibia and sells his fur coats for as much as R240 000.00 each (US$32 000.00) The workers have no access to profit sharing.
A report commissioned by the Humane Society and World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) clearly shows that seal watching eco-tourism in Namibia can generate THREE HUNDRED times more wealth and create far more jobs in a country desperate for employment.
In September of 2011, numerous organizations including ourselves, IFAW, the NSPCA, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, Seal Alert SA and others gathered in Windhoek to make representations to the Namibian ombudsman Adv. John Walters. Our case is simply overwhelming. The hunt is in no uncertain terms illegal. It is inhumane, uneconomical and does nothing positive for the country. The solutions we provided offered large scale investment in the country, job creation, sustainable economic growth, the upliftment of the grassroots communities and the building of a national identity based on the seal colony as a world class brand.
The ombudsman has yet to release his report.
Today it was reported in the Namibian media that the Minister of Fisheries, Bernard Esau has announced the Namibian seal hunt will continue, despite the ombudsman not yet having ruled on the matter. Esau, without any scientific justification, plans to increase the quota to more than 91 000 animals to be brutally beaten to death.
We are left with no alternative but to redouble our efforts at an international boycott of all Namibian sport, produce and tourism. We had our representatives in New York over the weekend attend the NY Times Travel Show where Namibia had a booth. Flyers and over 100 full sized posters of a seal being beaten to death were distributed around the travel expo and potential tourists were informed of the massacre and our reasons for implementing the consumer boycott.
We will be staging several protests around the world in the next few weeks. Fur Free South Africa (one of our many campaign partners) will be promoting an intensive online campaign starting Friday 9th March. This campaign will be supported by numerous well known South African personalities and celebrities. Our Cape Town protest, to be held on 14th March, will be supported by Beauty Without Cruelty and World Events to End Animal Cruelty (WEEAC.com) Other international cities include Brussels (staged by Bite Back outside the Namibian Embassy) London (outside the High Commission) Chicago, Denver, Boston, San Diego, Melbourne, Sydney and Toronto.
Our boycott has the support of several South African celebrities including singer Verity, Faizel Sayed, Braam Malherbe, Christina Storm and Cito from the band Wonderboom. Captain Paul Watson, founder of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and hero of the Animal Planet series "Whale Wars" has also endorsed the boycott.
We feel that the good people of Namibia are not only being lied to by their government but they are also being denied the opportunity to benefit from a national treasure. How much longer will this government of wolves be allowed to run amok, killing off a fabulous tourist draw card, insulting their citizens and bringing nothing but shame and disgrace on an otherwise fantastic country?
Today we received an e-mail from the Namibian ombudsman Adv John Walters as a follow up to the meeting that was held in September of 2011. We have copied this directly and included our response below.
In my previous correspondence I promised that my report and findings will be available by the end of March 2012, hoping that we will receive the results of the survey to determine the number of seals in Angola, South Africa and Namibia, by the Benguella Current Commission by mid January or February 2012.
However, I have now been informed by the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources that the survey was in fact done during December 2011, and that the scientists of the respective countries are currently busy to analyse the data. The results of the survey are expected only at the end of May 2012.
In the light hereof, my report will consequently also be delayed. I need this information to draw conclusions and to make recommendations. I can assure you that I am in the meantime busy with the report.
The Seals of Nam replied as follows:
Dear Adv Walters.
Thank you so much.
Concerning this survey, we would like some clarity as to whether it can in fact be corroborated by any independent scientists who have no vested interest in the matter? We are skeptical of any government statistics, particularly in light of the fact that Bernard Esau, despite warnings from his own scientists, has increased quotas for fisheries once again!
On the 27 October, it was reported in the "Namibian Sun" that "Alarming news for Namibia's fishing sector is that commercial over-fishing and the increasing volume of by-catches of some of the prime fish stocks has led to a drastic decrease of such species, raising concerns that they could be depleted if current practices continue.
On the 8th of November 2011, we learned via "New Era" that the "Fisheries ministry has violated the Treasury Act."
On the 24th of November 2011, "The Namibian" reported "Six group rights have been granted for Monk Fish, but no new rights for Pilchard, whose stocks are under strain."
On the 30th of December 2011, the "Namibian Sun" reported that in spite of these warnings, "Pilchard quotas for 2012 drastically increased. The Ministry of Fisheries plans to increase the TAC quota to 31 000 tonnes for the 2012 season."
What changed in 36 days to warrant this increase?
Can the Hon Bernard Esau kindly explain to the good people of Namibia why he is ignoring scientific warnings? Or does he plan to blame the seals some more?
With all due respect, our organization is not prepared to accept any government studies or surveys. Only peer reviewed independent studies will be accepted. We feel that in the light of the MFMR ignoring warnings, their violation of the treasuries act and the general incompetence in the handling of the seal massacre, who is to say they are not inflating the population figures in order to justify higher cull quotas?
We trust you find the above in order.
The Seals Of Nam
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It has come to our attention that the government of Japan is considering a mass slaughter of SPOTTED SEALS. We believe the country has no justification for this slaughter. Already, Japan is facing a public relations nightmare since it was discovered that they had lied about the severity of the Fukushima threat, diverted funds from tsunami relief to bolster a barbaric whaling campaign and were feeding toxic mercury laden dolphin meat to school children in Taiji where 23 000 dolphins get slaughtered annually.
"The Seals Of Nam" has responded to this proposed slaughter by way of an open letter to the Japanese government. You are welcome to use our response as a template. Beneath our letter you will find a list of email addresses within the Japanese government that we have already contacted. We suggest you email the Japanese in batches so as to avoid any spam filters.
Date: 13 February 2012
Att: The Government of Japan
Subject: Proposed seal hunting in Hokkaido prefecture.
From: “The Seals Of Nam.”
To whom it may concern:
It is with shock, anger and dismay that our organization has learned of a proposed mass slaughter of spotted seals in the Hokkaido prefecture of Japan. It has been found the Prefectural authorities are to issue licences in the form of pest control, much the same way as dolphins are being slaughtered in Taiji. See article: http://vegansociety.jp/japan-to-start-seal-hunting-in-hokkaido/
Spotted seals are under severe threat from global warming. Oil and gas extraction in their habitat has resulted in disturbances and pollution been has been shown to have adversely affected their reproductive levels. They are at risk from entanglement, illegal hunting and habitat loss. Chemical pollutants and organochlorines such as DDT are also subjecting these creatures to risk. The species is protected in China, listed as nationally endangered and Japan has not hunted seals for some time.
No accurate peer reviewed population data on the species is available. Without any scientific backing, to enter into culling these beautiful animals based on unsubstantiated claims by a fishing industry, could prove to be the environmental equivalent of committing suicide.
The removal of a predator from any food chain has been scientifically proven to adversely affect the ecosystem. Furthermore, seals do not have a negative effect on fish stocks. This has been proven by way of a study on Grey seals in the Baltic. See relevant article here.
South Africa ended their seal culling industry in 1990. Well managed resources have shown positive growth and the seals have been found innocent.
Not only are international protests underway regarding Namibia’s annual seal hunt, but the country is facing consumer boycotts for the same reason. We can see this is affecting the countries tourism. Ethical Traveller excluded Namibia from its list of ethical destinations and the Namibian Dept of Tourism has released a statement that growth in the market is experiencing a slump.
A comprehensive report commissioned by the Humane Society, the World Society for the Protection of Animals, Bont Voor Dieren (NL) and Respect for Animals (UK) shows that seal viewing and ecotourism in Namibia can generate three hundred times more revenue than the slaughter. If we apply the same logic to Japan, we could expect the same results. Boat based dolphin viewing and swim with dolphin programs have shown to outrank dolphin slaughter in terms of revenue.
We also wish to draw your attention to the situation regarding the Canadian seal hunt. The USA, Mexico, The European Union and recently Russia have all banned the import of seal products based on the inherent cruelty involved. As a result, the market for pelts has dropped, the cost of a pelt plummeting from $125 to $18 in three years. The hunt is uneconomical. It requires constant financial bailouts from government and is a unwarranted drain on an already squeezed tax payers budget.
Drops in fish catches are caused by large scale environmental factors such as low oxygen water due to the el Nino effect as well as the man made problem of overfishing. Each October, the Namibian government close their fisheries to allow stocks to recover. The seals do not affect the recovery.
Japan is currently facing the onslaught of some nasty public relations debacles. To mention a few, the country deceived the public as to the extent of damage to the Fukushima nuclear plant. It was revealed funds destined for tsunami relief were allocated to prop up a barbaric whaling campaign against the conservation group Sea Shepherd and mercury laden dolphin meat from the slaughter of 23 000 dolphins in Taiji is being fed to school children. We question why the country would even consider getting involved in any further embarrassing situations.
In light of the above, and considering all the negative publicity surrounding seal hunting, we wish to inform the Japanese government that we condemn in the strongest of terms the proposed decision to hunt these spotted seals. We request that the government act immediately and decisively in preventing this proposed hunt from taking place. Not only are the global citizens appalled by the very notion, but any such hunt would be an insult and embarrassment to the good people of Japan and a mockery to the principals of conservation.
Should these seal hunts take place, we will have no option but to pull the international media spotlight onto Japan. We will portray the country in the worst possible light. We will institute our “Beach Master” campaign by sending volunteers to protest in much the same way as Sea Shepherd is doing with their “Cove Gurdians” in Taiji. We will partner with other organizations and we will attempt to isolate the country by way of consumer boycotts.
We trust you find the above in order and will debate with wise council. In anticipation of a favourable result we remain.
Below are the email addresses for various Japanese Government and media departments. We suggest you mail them in batches so as to avoid spam filters.
Email Addresses for Japanese Prefectures (Local Government).
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Monday, Feb 06, The Seals of Nam and our partners launched the planning phase for international protest actions to be held in March against the continued clubbing of seals in both Namibia and Canada. Participants from Cape Town, Brussels, Chicago and Denver have already confirmed their support, while interest has come in from Johannesburg, Southern California, Florence and Berlin. More cities are expected to join us as we get closer to the dates scheduled.
Below is the letter we have forwarded to the organizing committee of the ITB Berlin Convention. You are welcome to make use of this as a sample or to draft your own. Contact details have been provided.
Alexandra Saless email email@example.com
Sabine Bierlein email firstname.lastname@example.org
Prof. Dr. Roland Conrady email email@example.com
Re: Formal appeal to bar Namibia from ITB Berlin Convention
As you are probably aware, Ethical Traveller, a non profit organization that uses the economic clout of tourism to protect human rights and the environment; recently excluded Namibia from its list of ethical destinations based on this annual slaughter. For more information you are referred to their website, www.ethicaltraveler.org/explore/the-worlds-best-ethical-destinations-2012/
A petition with around 22 000 signatures from the international community, calling on the Namibian Government to immediately end their annual hunt, has been delivered by way of the Namibian ombudsman, Adv John Walters. See http://www.thepetitionsite.com/6/please-grant-a-moratorium-to-suspend-the-namibian-seal-slaughter/
The Namibian Ministry of Environment and Tourism has come under further fire for issuing a permit for 70 zebra and "an unknown number of gemsbok and springbok" to be shot in the Okondjombo conservancy in the Kunene Region. The hunt, which began on December the 11th 2011, lacked any representation from the said ministry. It took place in a high tourist volume region and not in an allocated hunting zone. Aside from the fact that many zebra are pregnant over this period; the hunt makes nothing but a mockery of the countries conservation laws. See:
The USA, Mexico, the European Union and recently Russia have ALL banned the import of seal products based on the inherent cruelty that is involved in these hunts. A report, commissioned by The Humane Society, The World Society for the Protection of Animals, Bont Voor Dieren (NL) and Respect for Animals (UK) titled "The economics of seal hunting and seal watching in Namibia" clearly shows that eco-tourism initiatives will generate THREE HUNDRED times more revenue than the annual slaughter.
In light of the above, and considering all the
negative publicity generated from this slaughter, we are making a formal appeal
to the organizing committee of the ITB Berlin Convention to exclude Namibia from
participating in this conference. The conference, which runs from 7-9 March
2012 coincides with planned international protests against seal clubbing.
For further information and to find out who else the campaign organizers are targeting, you are referred to our website www.sites.google.com/site/thesealsofnam/
Your assistance and cooperation in this regard would be greatly appreciated.
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In a major victory for animal rights and welfare, Russia has now joined with the EU in banning the trade in seal skins. The market for this ghastly product is steadily shrinking and Russia, a former seal clubbing country, is no longer considered to be a savage and brutal country with a negative international reputation.
The spotlight has shifted to Namibia. We have, and will continue, to push for an end to the annual Namibian slaughter. The more protracted this debacle becomes, the more negative international exposure will be generated, affecting Namibia's economy in terms of tourist revenue generated by a well publicised international consumer boycott.
The massacre has been shown to be illegal in terms of Namibia's own legislation. Not only does the hunt violate the Animal Protection Act of 1962, it also violates the Marine Resources Act and the Animal Health Act of 2011. The fact that the media are not allowed to film the hunt violates Section 21 (1) (a) of the Namibian Constitution as well as The Windhoek Declaration, both of which guarantee media freedom.
In September, Namibian Ombudsman Adv. John Walters convened a meeting with various stakeholders. He mentioned that it may take up to a year for him to make his ruling. In November, our organization delivered a petition with over 21 000 signatures to Adv. Walters asking him to declare a moratorium on all sealing activities. We believe that failing to do so would show that the meeting was nothing more than a stall tactic by the Namibian Government in order for them to get away with another season of illegal culling activities.
A report commissioned by the Humane Society International, WSPA and Bont Voor Dieren has shown that the Namibian seal colony is worth 300 times more alive than dead. For the Namibian Government to continue with lies and propaganda that the slaughter generates much needed income simply highlights a statement by the World Bank that Government corruption in Namibia is a bigger problem than any form of organised crime or fraud.
As part of International Animal Rights day, Pat Dickens, founder of "The Seals of Nam" and former national coordinator for Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (best known for the TV reality Show "Whale Wars") joined forces with well known South African DJ "MrSub Mrsublive"at the top end of York Street in George to protest the annual slaughter of Cape Fur seals in Namibia
Waving graphic placards with the slogan "You can help stop the slaughter" the two managed to make a definite impact with numerous locals hooting in support of their initiative.
Each year in Namibia, over 80 000 baby seals, still dependent on their mothers teat, are brutally beaten to death for their fur. A further 6 000 adult bull seals are shot at point blank range so that their penises can be used to make an ineffective aphrodisiac. Since the EU ban in 2009 on all seal products, the Canadian seal cull has ground to a virtual halt, while the Namibian hunt has become the largest slaughter of wildlife on earth.
The Namibian Government claim the slaughter is necessary to protect their fishing stocks. They fail to mention that since independence they have increased their annual fisheries harvest from 300 thousand tons to 600 thousand tons without doing any sustainability studies. The Namibian territorial waters are poorly patrolled and illegal fishing trawlers are a dime a dozen.
The Cape Fur seal is an endangered species and appears on both the IUCN red data list as well as on Appendix II of CITES.