A comprehensive legal opinion, from Marine Law experts, drawn up by the firm Dawson and Edwards is available as an attachment at the end of this page. We wish to thank Francois Hugo of Seal Alert for providing this information.
The Animal Protection Act of 1962 (Namibia) gives mandate to the Namibian SPCA to arrest and detain people for beating an animal to death.
Rather than uphold this mandate (and respect the laws of their own country) the Namibian SPCA have not only condoned the slaughter of 85 THOUSAND seal pups and 6 THOUSAND bulls, but they have gone so far as to call this savage practice HUMANE!
The lawyers representing the Namibian SPCA are claiming that that a seal is not an animal (according to Namibian classification) and does not need protection. See column to the right below the image.
Under Section 8 of the Act, it states the following:
“If authorised thereto by writing under the hand of the magistrate of a district any officer or any society for the prevention of cruelty to animals may in that district –
(a) without warrant and at any time with the consent of the owner or occupier, or failing such consent on obtaining an order from a magistrate, enter any premises where any animal is kept, for the purpose of examining the conditions under which it is so kept
(b) without warrant arrest any person who is suspected on reasonable grounds of having committed an offence under this Act, if there is reason to believe that the ends of justice would be defeated by the delay in obtaining a warrant
(c) on the arrest of any person on a charge of an offence under this Act, seize any animal or thing in the possession or custody of that person at the time of the arrest and take it forthwith before a magistrate
(d) exercise in respect of any animal the powers conferred by subsection (1) of section five upon a police officer and in respect of such exercise of those powers, the provisions of the said section shall mutatis mutandis apply
Clearly then, Namibia is in contravention of its own Animal Protection Act which expressly forbids beating an animal to death.
Independent observers have concluded that the killing methods are cruel, inhumane and cause unnecessary suffering. (see SA Journal of Science 2010 pg106 3/4)
South Africa stopped its own seal clubbing program in 1990 for these very reasons and Namibia was advised by the Commission on sealing to follow suit.
The Namibian Government has ignored all pleas, stating that it will not be prescribed to by anyone.
A SEAL IS NOT AN ANIMAL?
The following was taken directly from the website of
the Windhoek SPCA
The Namibian SPCA operates under the Animals Protection Act 71 of 1962. Under this Act, it is illegal to “overload, overdrive, override, ill-treat, neglect, infuriate, torture or
maim or cruelly beat, kick, goad or terrify any animal.” 3
An animal is defined, in the same Act, as “any equine, bovine, sheep, goat, pig, fowl, ostrich, dog, cat or other domestic animal or bird, or any wild animal, wild bird or
reptile which is in captivity or under the control of any person (SPCA emphasis).
Whilst the harvesting of seal pups, as seen in the 2009 video, could be considered illegal in that it constitutes ill-treatment, cruel beating and is terrifying for the animals (as defined in the Act) one faces a further stumbling block.
Whilst seals undeniably fall into the category of wild animals, it is unlikely that one can construe them to be in captivity or under the control of any person. Various activists have argued that the act of herding the seals prior to clubbing them constitutes placing the animals under the control of any person/ in captivity as contemplated in the Act. However, from a legal point of view (as
confirmed by various legal minds) this argument would most likely fall foul of the intended interpretation of the
legislation, and fail in court.