URGENT REQUEST SEE 3 LETTERS
FRANCOIS HUGO Seal Alert SA
Letter 5 July to travel agencies NL
Sent: Thursday, July 05, 2007 12:45 AM
Subject: Degradation of Sustainable Tourism around The Cape
To the managers of the travel agencies:
ANVR, TUI, Koning Aap, Elmar Reizen, Kristof Holidays, Globe Reisburo, Explore Namibia
Ladies and gentlemen,
For some years we cooperate with François Hugo from Seal Alert S.A. in South Africa to protect the Cape Fur Seals from extinction. François Hugo is not only unique in his offshore methods of treatment and care for rescued seals, but also the best advocate for this threatened species.
On 1 July 2007 the annual massacre on Cape Fur Seals started on the beach of the private property of the "De Beers" diamond industry in Namibia. This massacre is executed on an already dwindling colony of sick and undernourished protected animals. On the night of 4 July we have been informed that already more than 3000 seal babies have been killed. At the moment the Namibian massacre is the biggest threat for this species.
Many well-founded protests and - following other countries - a Dutch notification of an import ban on Cape Fur Seal products, could not withhold Namibian authorities to destroy unique protected animals in your beautiful travel destination.
Although your agency might be informed on the situation, it is interesting for your clients to know that for years South Africa and Namibia have made life impossible for the Cape Fur Seals. They have been exiled from the Cape Islands, their natural habitat. In fact Robben Island has been robbed from its name significance by government interference.
Although seals have no culinary interest in birds whatsoever, this government policy has been executed to protect the birds. The real reason is the protection of the fishing industry interests.
The seals have to survive on the beach or the low rocks at the waterline before the beaches around The Cape. On the beach they fall prey to land predators and men. For seals these are totally unnatural enemies for which they have no ability to defend or immunity to their diseases. The low rocks do not give adequate protection either as new generations of seal babies are wiped out by the high seas in winter storms.
In fact we witness an intentional genocide on the seals. Not only by the exile from their habitat but also by fishermen shooting off seals at sea for the fun of it and by the systematic culling of suckling seal babies and adult animals, the so called "harvesting of the young growth in a healthy population".
The mere word "harvesting" reflects the moral indifference towards culling. The fixed quota of the harvest is higher than the present healthy animals. It will be silent on the beach and the left carcasses are always a stinking problem. The responsible Namibian minister offered a solution by encouraging his people to start eating seal meat, but they don't have the appetite for it. An otherwise useful suggestion for removing the carcasses as people can eat something else whilst seals cannot. They are totally dependent on fish and consequently are more entitled to that diet than people.
Besides disdain for and destruction of their natural environment we also notice a remarkable denial and untruthfulness regarding this systematic massacre:
De Beers assumes an injured innocence but permits the killing on her private beaches that are not accessible to strangers. Authorities falsify data on the numbers and health of the seal population. Rescue and feeding of seals is a penal offence. The South African minister who started this policy underlined his destructive disposition by lobbying in The Netherlands for a massive elephant cull.
Extensive Dutch background information Nederlandse achtergrondinformatie on the history and actual situation can be found under this link. Complementary English information is found in the website of Action Against Poisoning.
In our view South African and Namibian authorities are executing an intentional destructive nature and environmental policy, despite all protests against the destruction of the seals and requests for example for the return of the seals to their habitat. The destruction of a species and its habitat will - not alone by the deeds but also by the underlying mentality - have its repercussions on the for these countries extremely important tourist branche. If a government looses track on its own touristic interests, only the concerned travel agencies can turn the tide.
We understand that a growing number of travel agencies includes "sustainable tourism" in their policies bearing in mind the demand for sustainable tourism and the decay by negligence of some travel destinalions of great value.
On behalf of Seal Alert S.A. and other animal protection organisations we call on you to warn Namibia - and regarding among others Robben Island South Africa as well - that their contempt of nature in general and the Cape Fur Seals in particular warrants a boycott of these countries as travel destinations.
We look forward to your reaction.
With kind regards,
Action Against Poisoning
Mrs Gray or Mrs Vanhees for attention his Excellency the
High Commissioner Wilbard Hellao,
Attached letter by Francois Hugo
Letter sent by Action Against Poisoning 28 june 2007
faxed to :
the Namibian Ministry,
Attention Permanent Secretary Nongula Mbako
on + 264 61 233 286 and + 264 61 224 566
Action Against Poisoning fights animal poisoning in particular and supports animal protection efforts in general. We have been informed on the impending seal cull in Namibia, starting on July 1, 2007.
Like us, the Namibian authorities have repeatedly and extensively been informed by Seal Alert S.A. on facts regarding the seal population in that region, so we will not repeat their fact-based arguments. The facts about the ill health and dwindling population of the seals and sealing rights are clear and the arguments against culling are solid.
Given the actual facts and arguments we are saddened by the stubborn Namibian policy to continue the seal culling – against international public opinion - under the pretext that a massive culling will not harm the seal population in Namibia. A pretext based on fabricated evidence as we cannot find any match with the facts.
This policy reflects a rock bottom respect for animal life and international animal protection legislation.
We cannot fathom why the responsible authorities choose to create an image of a destructive and arbitrary administration earning a few dollars on seal genocide. A choice that is extremely harmful to the image of Namibia as a successful emerging tourist destination.
If Namibia executes its culling plan we will not hesitate to mobilize our vast network of animal protection organizations and travel agencies by exposing this destructive behavior.
We call on you to stop the intended Namibian seal culling before it starts on July 1, 2007.
SHOW YOU CARE FOR THE CAPE FUR SEALS, WEAR THIS T-SHIRT
PETITION FOR THE CAPE FUR SEALS NAMIBIA
Letter sent by AAP via www.harpseals.org/helpstop/protest_new/namibia_email.php
Action Against Poisoning fights animal poisoning in particular and supports animal protection in general.
We have been informed on the culling of baby Cape Fur seals in Namibia. We cannot fathom the pleasure that people derive from such activities as no money can compensate the act of a massacre, be it on men or on animals.
We were already quite upset by the visit - a few months ago - of the South African Minister Martinus Van Schalkwijk to his embassy in The Netherlands to lobby for elephant culling as a new project added to his successful Cape Fur Seal culling policy. What species might he want to cull next? This man loves culling!
Now we are confonted with a Namibian Minister telling his people to get used to eating seal meat as a means of disposing of the seal pup carcasses, obviously making the killing "useful" for the Namibian people.
We hope that you will understand that this contageous, unscrupulous and destructive attitude is repulsive to people who value life. Why are even educated African officials so gung-ho on massive killing of helpless animals that they are willing to forfeit all international support and respect for their actions and - consequently - their country?
As your motivation eludes us, please explain your emotional and financial considerations and decisions that lead to the deliberate annihilation of the Namibian seals.
If we can understand, we might not loose all faith in the government of one of the most precious nature regions of the world.
We look forward to your reply.
Drs P.M. Donker
Action Against Poisoning