The Namibian government said Wednesday it would continue culling seals after a meeting with animal rights activists failed to halt the mass killings. Meanwhile, the daily newspaper “The Namibian” reported Wednesday that local tour operators are advertising internationally to attract trophy hunters to visit the country to hunt seals.
The daily reported that one tour operator was offering a package for US$1 169 (860 euros) to hunt seals, including travel expenses, a lunch pack and the assistance of a local professional hunter. – Sapa-AP.

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Saturday September 15 2007



Namibia government vows to continue with seal harvesting

By RODRICK MUKUMBIRA
WINDHOEK, Namibia – The Namibian government said Wednesday it would continue culling seals after a meeting with animal rights activists failed to halt the mass killings.
The country’s ministry of fisheries and marine resources met last week with Seal Alert, which has been outspoken in opposition to the hunting of the endangered Cape Fur seal for their pelts, as well as other animal rights organizations, including the World Society for Protection of Animals and the Humane Society International for Animals UK.
Frans Tsheehama, the ministry’s permanent secretary, said that government would stick to its policy because Seal Alert “was unable to provide any alternative.”
Last month, at the start of the five-month hunting season, the Namibian government set a three-year total allowable catch of 6,000 adult males and upped the number of pups to be killed by 20 000 to 80 000.
The sparsely populated southern African country is famous for its wildlife and the desert scenes along its Atlantic coastline, known as the Skeleton Coast. An estimated 850 000 seals live on a group of islands off the southern coast.
The government argues the seals consume 900 000 tons of fish a year, more than a third of the fishing industry catch.
Tsheehama said a presentation by the ministry’s scientists to the animal rights organizations proved that “allegations” made by Seal Alert regarding the inhumane nature of the harvest had no “basis”.
He said Namibia respected the principles of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization. And he said another meeting would be held after all parties had time to study the presentation further.
However, François Hugo of Seal Alert South Africa said he was still opposed to the practice and that there were no humane methods that could be used.
“There is no other alternative to clubbing baby seals to death. What we are saying is that the culling should not be done,” he told the Associated Press.
Hugo also said he and the other animal rights organizations at the meeting were not given the opportunity to question the scientists.
“The meeting was biased. The chairman was from the fisheries ministry,” he said.

Meanwhile, the daily newspaper “The Namibian” reported Wednesday that local tour operators are advertising internationally to attract trophy hunters to visit the country to hunt seals.

The daily reported that one tour operator was offering a package for US$1 169 (860 euros) to hunt seals, including travel expenses, a lunch pack and the assistance of a local professional hunter. – Sapa-AP.

Last updated 
16/08/2007 14:54:23 

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