Namibian seal cull illegal and cruel

SEAL ALERT-SA says the seal cull in Namibia has been illegal since independence and has asked the Prime Minister to instruct the Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources immediately to cancel the upcoming harvest of 91,000 endangered seals due to start on 1 July 2011.
The animal rights group has also requested the Namibian government to set up a Commission of Enquiry urgently to fully investigate all the violations of the various Acts by both the Minister of Fisheries and sealers taking place in Namibia.
According to media reports, the Government has allocated around 85,000 seal pubs and 6,000 seal bulls for this year’s cull.
The latest development comes in the wake of a legal opinion delivered by Ocean Law International on behalf of Seal Alert-SA.
Seal Alert-SA’s attorneys sent this report to Prime Minister Nahas Angula, the Ministers of Fisheries, Environment and Tourism and Justice, the Ombudsman, as well as CITES and the Namibian SPCA’s attorneys last week.
The expert legal opinion states that the Minister of Fisheries has unlawfully authorised sealers to harvest endangered and protected Cape fur seals beyond his lawful jurisdiction in violation of the Marine Resource Act of 2000, the regulations, the repealed Sea Birds and Seals Protection Act of 1973 and the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act of 1962 in Namibia.
Seals Alert alleges that the population of seals – which falls within the jurisdiction of the Act and the minister – has declined by 35 percent since independence.
It further states that comes at a time when the seal’s habitats have already shrunk by over 90 percent due to unsustainable harvesting practices leading to a collapse of over 94 percent of island habitat.
This in turn has reduced protected seal breeding habitat within the jurisdiction of the Marine Resources Act to less than 3,8 percent, with 10 of Namibia’s largest islands extinct to seals.
“Having repealed the protection afforded to seals under the Sea Birds and Seals Protection Act since 2000 and issued export permits in violation of the Convention in Trade of Endangered Species (CITES), the Minister has violated the terms of the CITES convention to which all seal products were exported”, a statement from Seal Alert-SA reads.
“Banned from import in the United States since 1972 and the 27-Nations of the European Union in 2010, the Minister has continued to pursue a policy of cruelty to seals.”

The statement continued that the Minister of Fisheries, “Created an unlawful situation in regulating where sealers were tasked with identifying an age dependent group of seals that cannot be determined, and prescribed a method of killing that was impossible to implement, which resulted in immense cruelty to endangered seals – a punishable criminal offence in Namibia”.
Moreover, the minister, “Issued sealing rights where no such rights or commercial activity was permitted, in a manner that would lead to criminal prosecution of the sealers under the Marine Resources Act and the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act”.
Efforts to seek comment from the Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources Bernard Esau on the allegations made against him proved unsuccessful as he was locked up in a meeting.
Francois Hugo of Seal Alert-SA said he is, “amazed that the Minister of Fisheries was allowed to get away with killing over 1,1 million seal pups of an endangered seal population numbering no more than 850,000 and to then still enter a contract to supply one fur buyer with a further 1 million seal pup skins until 2019”.
Hugo also claims that the Turkish fur buyer one Yanuz, “in turn attempted to sell state assets unlawfully for millions of dollars and to close the industry down, and furthermore, hosted a delegation from China at the highest level [to look] into further exports of seal products”.
According to Hugo, “although article 95 of the Namibian Constitution permits non-consumptive and consumptive utilisations of seals, the Marine Resources Act of 2000 only permits the Minister of Fisheries to issue rights to harvest seals consumptively.”
Early this year a number of South African celebrities and animal rights activists launched an international campaign to push for a boycott of Namibian tourism and products to force the Government to stop seal culling.
Fur Free, Beauty Without Cruelty and Sea Shepherd have spearheaded the boycott.
Fifty animal rights and conservation organisations represented in 22 countries around the world support Seal Alert-SA’s campaign.
In addition to tourism, the campaign will also target diamonds, beer, tin, aluminium, zinc, marble, handmade novelty chocolates, and meat and karakul products.
Economic analysts warn that continued culling may have serious repercussions for the Namibian economy given the threat of a boycott of Namibian produced goods.
For example, revenue for the year ended 30 June 2010 for Namibia Breweries stood at N$1.74 billion, up 10 percent from N$1.58 billion in 2009.
The company paid just over N$71 million into Government coffers in the form of taxes. The company also paid out N$1.4 billion to suppliers and employees, about eight percent more than the year before.
Investment in travel and tourism is expected to increase from N$2.172 billion to N$6.076 billion over the next ten years.
Total employment in the travel and tourism industry is expected to increase from 71,000 jobs in 2010 to 109,000 by 2020.
Export earnings from international visitors and tourism goods are expected to increase from N$4.651 billion to over N$13 billion over the next ten years.
On the other hand the economic and financial returns of the annual seal cull remain negligible, with a paltry income for the Government ranging between N$520,000 to N$1 million and 81 seasonal jobs.


~ by FSVSF Admin on 16 August, 2011.

One Response to “Namibian seal cull illegal and cruel”

  1. Right on!

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