Seal culling: animal rights activists besiege Namibia consulate

2011-06-16 00:00

South African model and actress Christina Storm has joined a protest against Namibia’s annual culling of baby seals, saying it is the largest slaughter of wildlife in the world. ‘It is disgusting that the killing of pups is happening … all going towards making one man rich. It is madness, it is sick,’ said Storm. She joined a graphic demonstration against seal culling in front of the Namibian consulate in Johannesburg, which saw protesters re-enacting the bloody clubbing of baby seals on human actors. Three animal rights groups in the protest called for South Africans ‘to boycott Namibian tourism and products’ because of the country’s seal culling practices. ‘We are asking tourists and businesses to do this because of their policies on Cape fur seals,’ Beauty Without Cruelty spokesperson Anne van Vliet said at a roadside protest. ‘The Namibian government has taken a stand that seals are detrimental to fishing populations … and therefore brutally club baby seals to death,’ she added. The Namibian government argues that the seals consume 900 000 tons of fish a year, which it says is a third of the fishing harvest. Van Vliet said the reality is that overfishing and bad management practices are the causes of the declining fish population. For the last three years a culling quota of 85 000 seal pups and 6 000 bulls was permitted in Namibia. Bulls were often shot at close range and their genitalia used as an aphrodisiac. The government maintains that the country’s seal population is healthy, and that hunting will not lead to extinction.

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