Animal rights groups: Boycott Namibia

2011-06-15 20:00

Johannesburg - South Africans should boycott Namibian tourism and products because of the country's seal culling practices, three animal rights groups said on Wednesday.

"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 in Bryanston, north of Johannesburg.

"The Namibian government has taken a stand that seals are detrimental to fishing populations...and therefore brutally club baby seals to death."

Van Vliet said the reality was that human over-fishing and bad management practices were the causes of declining fish numbers. "Yet they slaughter the pups in the morning, pull the carcasses onto a truck and clean blood on the beaches where tourists later sit.

"We are rather advocating sustainable seal-viewing eco-tourism all year round."

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.

This, in spite of their Animal Protection Act 71 of 1962, which forbids animal cruelty and beating an animal to death, Van Vliet said.

The group, together with Fur Free SA and Sea Shepherd SA, held the protest under the banner of The Seals of Nam.

Among the crowd were schoolboy Josh, 13, and his four-year-old sister Zeta who attended with their mother Prelene Garreth.

"I brought them here today so they can learn how to preserve the environment as humans naturally destroy it," Garreth said.

"We need to teach our kids these lessons early on...for example Josh is already a vegan."

Local model and actress Christina Storm joined in the protest, saying "it is disgusting that the killing of pups is happening."

"Namibia is our sister country and we love them but we can't allow this to go on... so I'll be boycotting Namibia and its products too," she said.

The Namibian government argues that the seals are consuming 900 000 tons of fish a year, more than a third of the fishing industry catch.

The fishing industry's contribution to the country's GDP was 5% in 2005, according to the Bank of Namibia's annual report of 2006.

The government maintains that the country's seal population is healthy and hunting will not lead to the extinction of the species.

  • Steyts - 2011-06-15 20:51

    Shame, another group of people with nothing to do that believe they know more than the local fisheries...

  • WDVenter - 2011-06-15 20:53

    Ag please get over yourselves.

  • jock van wyk - 2011-06-15 20:57

    I think they should concentrate with the animal abuse in South Africa before calling for boycotts against Namibia

  • Nam - 2011-06-15 21:42

    Christina Storm should stay out of this protest. She's a nin-com-poop and should keep herself busy with the slaughtering of rhinoceros in South Africa if she wants to make a contribution.... this a a much more serious case.

  • cgtours - 2011-06-15 21:57

    Keep your noses in South Africa! Go and feed the hungry children scratching in dustbin on your doorsteps! What is it with South Africans always poking their noses into other countries when their own is in a mess.

      jka - 2011-06-17 16:37

      Who says we can't do both? We don't have a limited capacity to care about human, animal and environmental justice issues.

  • Beam me up - 2011-06-15 22:28

    I support the Namibian government 100% in their effort to "cull" the seal population. Their approach is correct, they could have opted to open a hunting season on seals but instead decided to put controls in place. Christina Storm is a plank! I say again, if you cry foul, come and collect all the seals you want, we will not charge you a cent. Take them to your own country and make sure they do not enter Namibia again.

      420 - 2011-06-16 10:14

      No, if there is no alternative to the culling, the govt should bring in professional hunters to do the job. Atleast the animal feels not stress or pain as it is a professional job, not chased by some unemployed, uneducated fool with a club...

  • StepUp - 2011-06-16 00:43

    Ugh you people should be ashamed of yourselves! I was there and it was people with real jobs who decided to not turn a blind eye on something they know is WRONG and that they are not afraid to step up and say something about it! Its so easy for all of you to sit and type criticism while it was because of people who make that effort in giving a voice to those who cant! I guarantee that not one of you do a single thing for the rhinos or any other cause for that matter - the people there are people who care about whats right and wrong - regardless of what man proclaimed border there is and they are involved in many things - not just the seal slaughtering in Namibia. What are you doing to make a difference in your country or any other country about things you know that are WRONG? Besides reading about it on the news and making non pro-active comments with a side of calling people you know nothing of (who manages to DO MORE in a day than you in your lifetime clearly ever will) stupid names?

      WDVenter - 2011-06-16 12:32

      True, I don't know anything about Christina Storm, like you don't know anything about me. Ever occurred to you that there's a glaring absence of professional environmental scientists in the hysterical animal rights movement? And for doing something for conservation; all the guys enjoying a paid biltong hunting trip this long weekend are the mainstay, in real terms, of private land to be under conservation, rather than being commercially farmed. THEY are contributing to conservation, more than you want to know.

  • toni - 2011-06-16 08:17

    South africa stopped killing seals in 1990 with no detrimental effect on fishing; quite the reverse, in fact. Namibia doubled their fishing quota with no science or research to validate this, and furthermore the Cape Fur Seal is in fact on not one, but 2 endangered lists, both CITES apprendix 2 and ICUN's red list. The sole reason for the slaughter is for FUR and with ecotourism instead, more income will be derived year round, with permanent jobs for more people. Local fisheries are in it to make money and to fish; they are not interested in other species who MAY be competing. This has nothing at all to do with fish stocks; independent resaerch confirms that human irresponsibilty wrt overfishing and bad management is the reason for depleted fish numbers. And many of the people involved also put their efforts into local issues too!

  • Horst - 2011-06-16 09:17

    Nothing wrong with culling seals as a management tool. We need to get off this sentimental position that wild life is special and needs to be protected at all costs. Not if there are to many of them eating into the profits of the fishing people. I only hope they don't just exterminate them without using the carcasses. I have a pair of boots made from seal skin, they are very warm and comfortable to wear. That is the way to go.

  • onetickie - 2011-06-16 09:39

    This article has been posted to many overseas addresses/sites and already some visitors have rethought their plans to Namibia.

  • Alyson - 2011-06-16 10:35

    Why is it that we humans see fit to put into practise the culling system to keep certain animal population figures down, while we breed like rabbits, ransack every available food source, take over land meant to be part of the eco-system. But nowhere in the thought process do we (not all of us but most) take responsibility to decrease our own human population. There should be an international standard on how many children we have regardless on whether or not you can afford them.

      jka - 2011-06-17 16:36

      By every criterion we use to justify culling, homo sapiens are long over due for a culling ourselves. Of course, the article says nothing about the profits being made off the fur of the pups, or that there is no scientific rationale for the slaughter - in fact science says its not needed, at all. its capitalism, not environmentalism, that drives this practice.

  • Henk - 2011-06-17 19:52

    The Namibians would love all your support on this! Fact is the baby seals are feeding from their moms, not consuming fish. Fact is that while they are still suckling from the mom they are brutally rounded up and clubbed to death. After this slaughter, they cover it up and invite you over to witness their beautiful conservation efforts. If you walked on that beach you would have walked in blood covered up with sand. Culling is when you kill the older animals in order to prevent them from making more baby seals and keeping the population healthy. Is it not convenient how the baby seals are targeted - because they bring in MONEY. There is many scientific studies that will show that what they are doing is wrong but you will only see what you want to see. I will boycott every Namibian product until they stop this brutal slaughter.

      Helene - 2011-07-15 22:29

      I am shocked at people's replies and support of the Namibian seal slaughter. Really?! It's ok with these people?! I am so thankful that I was raised with respect and love for animals and compassion and love for nature. I feel only sympathy for those who obviously did not have the same upbringing, Me too, will boycott Namibian products and I am spreading the word about the slaughter daily. It hasn't gotten nearly enough media coverage (maybe because the media is not allowed to witness the cruelty). My heart goes out to the seals, not all people are cruel

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