Jul 11 2012
Namibia’s disgusting slaughter of baby seals
Namibia’s disgusting slaughter of baby seals
One of my first jobs was as an animal rights campaigner with Advocates for Animals (now OneKind) and in my whole career as a politician both Lothian Regional Councillor for Inch/Gilmerton 1982-1984) and European MP since 1984 I have consistently campaign on animal rights issues.
I believe Ghandi had it right when he said: ‘The best way to judge a society is by the way it treats animals.’
I thought I had seen everything and become hardened to the inhumanity of man to his fellow creatures but apparently not.
On the 15th July 2012, 20 Namibian unskilled, underpaid men will be preparing themselves to go into protected baby seal nurseries and attempt to find, and then separate 85, 000 baby seals from their mothers and beat them to death for their soft pelts over the next 4/5 months. Later, a further 6,000 bull seals will be shot for their genitals.
With conservation and environmental protection written into the constitution of Namibia, and only a few such countries to do so, Seal Alert-SA questions why this slaughter of seals continues.
Seal Products are then sold to Namibia’s Honorary Consul to Turkey, Mr Hatem Yavuz, who exports the raw pelts to his factory in Turkey, to then manufacture fur jackets in fake animal print.
In 2011, the Namibian Ombudsman, John Walters accepted a complaint from Seal Alert-SA’s lawyers requesting Walters to apply for an immediate interdict to halt the slaughter, after alleging the seal slaughter is unlawful and cruel, violating laws within Namibia and internationally, and that the slaughter was not sustainable. Walter’s responded that he did not have all the facts and needed time to investigate. The 2011 seal slaughter continued.
Following a Seal Conference in September, delay upon delay ensued in releasing his findings. Walter’s claimed the vital independent state of the seal populations in southern Africa, surveyed in December 2011, was needed to complete his findings. Previous survey’s date back to 2002/2004.
A week before the annual seal slaughter was due to start at Namibia’s most popular tourist attraction, the seals on the beach at Cape Cross in 2011. The Ombudsman released his findings, a former Judge, Walter’s findings were although Cape fur seals and their raw seal products in Namibia are exported as a United Nations protected endangered seal species, to mostly Asian countries and Turkey, after being banned from import into the US and EU. Under Namibian law, seals are not protected or classified as an animal under Animal Protection laws in Namibia, and therefore the seal clubbers and authorities who permit the cruel slaughter are not unlawful.
Walter’s was unable to determine whether or not Namibia is ‘guilty’ of over-utilizing or causing a decline in the seal population, following several requests for the Minister of Fisheries to supply promised latest seal population numbers.
Yesterday, Seal Alert’s attorney’s responded stating Walter’s had failed his mandate to investigate several of the aspects of the Seal Alert complaint. That in not obtaining the seal population numbers, that the seal slaughter cannot be lawful, and requested an immediate moratorium or interdict to halt the slaughter. Failure to do so, after removing all protection in legislation protecting this endangered seal species in Namibia since 2000, would violate Namibia’s international obligation to the Convention In Trade of Endangered Species (CITES).
Adding further, the assumption that clubbing several hundred baby seals is similar to hunting single independent seal’s from their mothers is incorrect. Canada, US, EU and Russia used in support of the Ombudsman’s findings banned the hunting of baby seals dependent on their mothers in the mid-1980s. 93% of Namibia’s TAC is based on baby seal dependent on their mothers. Furthermore whilst Canadian seals hunter individual hunt seals and shoot, clubbing is only secondary. Whilst in Namibia only clubbing of large groups is permitted.
Namibia, now responsible for the largest marine mammal slaughter on earth, is the only country in the southern hemisphere still commercially slaughtering seals.
Seal harvesting has already caused the extinction of over 25 seal colonies, and less than 20% of the original population remain on 2,5% of their endemic offshore breeding habitat
As Bob Dylan once sang:
Bury the rag deep in your face
For now is the time for your tears.