Attached (below) is the article by Donna Collins of the Windhoek Observer in Namibia.
It is distributed and therefore read on Namibian's inter - national airlines, amongst other places
- if it persuades or re-directs potential tourists to take their hard earned holidays in another country
more akin to protecting than exterminating their wildlife
- then Namibia's Sealing Industry is a liability and not a benefit.
If it convinces just 200 potential tourists annually to stay away from Namibia
- Sealing becomes a major liability.
Francois Hugo Seal Alert-SA
Seal clubbing gets Flack from world Animal Groups
In a major effort to end the last baby seal hunt on earth, which is currently taking place in Namibia, Seal Alert-SA and animal activist supporters will be holding a legal protest this Friday outside the Namibian High Commission in Pretoria to demonstrate and call a halt to this mass killing.
" I have urged the Namibian Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources Mr Abraham Iyambo to use this opportunity to come in line with international standards and norms and like South Africa did in 1990 - and announce the end to sealing," said Francois Hugo (Seal Alert SA).
To date an estimated 20 000 nursing pups have been clubbed to death since the official start of the Namibian 2006 Seal harvest season granted by the Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources on 1 July.
And with approximately 630 baby seals and bulls clubbed, stabbed and shot to death daily in what has been dubbed the biggest and cruelest hunting the world. International animal rights groups are outraged and pushing for an end to the slaughter.
Seal Alert-SA is supported in this call to "End the Last Baby Seal
Hunt on Earth" by over 12 million supporters from organizations and
Individuals in over 140 countries around the world.
An anti-seal cull demonstration staged outside the Namibian Embassy in London, coupled by glaring headlines and images of sealers swinging their clubs against the heads of the innocent printed in international media, is marring Namibia's image.
The actual ‘official’ figures of the cull is unknown, according to Hugo who has been dubbed the "seal man" but he reckons that if the Ministry is to reach its quota of 85 000 by Nov 15, then they must kill at least 630 seals every day - and by this week the death toll on nursing pups will be at least 20 000.
Making mention to Albert Brink who runs the Cape Cross culling operation, Hugo called Brink a “killer” in one of his emotional outbursts, saying. “The man is a killer of nursing baby seals - that is not "sealing" and he should be ashamed of himself”.
Meanwhile Brink a Namibian seal concessionaire cancelled an interview with the Observer reporter at short notice who requested a tour of the factory and comment on the sealing.
He is the owner of a high tech Sea Lions factory at Henties Bay, which markets products made from the thousands of seals killed each year at the coast. With the export of different parts, as well as an abbetoire and processing plant with laboratories for the bottling and manufacturing of oils, capsules, creams and cosmetics, a tannery, a shoe factory, a leatherwear factory, a canning factory, a research laboratory, he has a thriving business.
Brink was behind the increased sealing quota of 60 000 to 85 000 to meet the demands of the industry.
"We must look at the sustainability of the industry and view it as another type of farming," he said. "I mean what is the problem - we are killing sheep and cattle every day - so why not seals."
“I’ve been dealing with this for 20 years, and the whole thing is blown out of proportion by the media,” said Brink adding. “Just go to an abattoir and see how much blood there is - why just because it is a bunch of seals, is there such a commotion,” Brink told the reporter over the phone.
Hugo slammed this saying seals are wildlife and their plight of starvation and annual clubbing reflects a long sad tale of mismanagement, abuse and interference with nature's balance.
He said that Brink is making money out of the country’s natural resources and only thinks of his pocket, nothing else. “How can you compare the clubbing of thousands of seals to the cattle industry,” he stated.
“Firstly a sheep farmer buys his land and sheep, pays for their feed and medication, plus breeds them for this purpose and then kills them in a Controlled way (not even sheep breed for slaughter gets clubbed over the head - no farmer in his right mind kills his nursing baby calves) why -because he would go out of business.
"Seals are not bred to be slaughtered
they are wildlife"
“Seals are protected marine mammals, who belong to everybody and are not there for just for Brinks financial greed," he slammed. "And seals are not bred to be slaughtered they are wildlife.
“If Brink, wants to slaughter seals, buy some land, fence it, buy seals, feed them, medicate them, be responsible for any disease out-breaks - keep them confined.
“If he can then run a profitable business on these terms alone - good for him.
“But till then seals belong to everybody and everyone will have a say in how they are protected and killed.
“I am only getting started, but I am going to put an end to Namibia’s seal culling for once and for all,” said Hugo. "Namibia is the only sealing country to still kill commercially baby nursing seal pups and we must end it now."
On July 1, Namibia started its annual harvest of 85 000 pups and 6000 bulls.
Minister Abraham Iyambo of the Namibian Fisheries and Marine Resources has stated that seals are harvested in Namibia in accordance with Article 95 (1) of the Constitution which requires the State to adopt policies aimed at "the utilization of living natural resources on a sustainable basis for the benefit of all Namibians".
The Namibian 2006 seal pup production is according to Minister Iyambo is 27% below pre-1993 population levels and this year's TAC (Total Allowable Catch) pup quota is 68% higher than 1994 quota.
Since Namibia's independence in 1990 - the Cape fur seals in Namibia have experienced mass die-offs from starvation and or disease in 1994, 1995, 2000
and 2001, and in 2006 and claims are made that the population has still not recovered.
Meanwhile the Clubbing season which ends in November to make sure the quota for 2006 of 85 000 nursing pups and 7 000 bulls is filled is in full swing at Cape Cross as well as the restricted areas of Wolf and Atlas Bay.
The Observer reporter spoke to a Simon Pope from a large animal rights organisation presently visiting the country who previously visited Cape Cross during the culling season. Explaining in gruesome detail how it works. "It's not a pretty sight". And to quote him he said. "The animals are chased into a corridor by two groups of clubbers who bash away at these creatures heads - hopefully to cause instant death - but I doubt that always.
"You can imagine how accurate the blows must be after swinging that club for a couple of hours - their arms get pretty tired I am sure," he said cynically.
"This is still considered the cruelest method by world standards - and when they have finished their nasty business they cover the blood splattered beach sand with more sand so the tourists can walk in and view the lovely seal colony.
"I had the misfortune of stepping into one of these freshly covered area's and was up to my ankles in blood. Many people in Europe won't come to a place where the people are hammering their animals to death, so it must have an effect on the country's tourism I am sure."