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Partial suspension of EU ban on Fur

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EU partially suspends ban on seal products
By Toby Vogel

Ban on most seal products takes effect today, but EU court gives Inuit groups extra time to submit a full legal challenge.The European Union’s highest court has partially suspended an EU ban on the import of seal products in order to allow opponents of the ban to present their case in writing.

The PARTIALl suspension of the ban, which came into force today, applies until 7 September and applies ONLY to groups who lodged a case with the European General Court. A number of companies are among the plaintiffs, but the principal challengers are seal hunters from native Inuit communities in Canada, Greenland and Norway. The BAN REMAINS IN PLACE FOR ALL OTHER HUNTERS and means that almost all seal products are, from today, BARRED from the EU.

A spokes person for the European Commission said that an oral hearing, to be held soon after the 7 September deadline,would determine whether the suspension would continue until the full case is heard. The legislation contains an exemption for products from seals hunted by Inuit, but Inuit groups are nonetheless opposed to the legislation, arguing that it would lead to the collapse of market prices.

Mary Simon, the president of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, Canada’s main Inuit organisation and the lead plaintiff in the court action, welcomed the suspension by Luxembourg-based European General Court. “Although we are not sure what future action the EU court will take in this case, I welcome the current decision by the court to stop the implementation of the ban asscheduled,” she said in a statement. “I can only hope that the EU court will determine that the ban and its so-called Inuit exemption are illegal,” she stated. Simon, who also described the ban as “immoral”, calledfor the European Parliament, the chief supporter of the ban,”to do the right thing and withdraw its legislation”.

Canada, the country most affected by the ban, is also challenging the ban. Its prime minister, Stephen Harper,announced yesterday that his government would ask the World Trade Organization (WTO) to set up a dispute settlement panel to assess whether the EU’s import ban breaks WTO rules. Canada has already complained to the WTO that the ban violates the EU’s trade obligations. “This is flagrant discrimination against the Canadian seal industry, against Canadian sealers,” Harper said. Canada and the EU are conducting talks on a far-reaching free-trade agreement. The next round of negotiations is to take place in October, and agreement appears possible by next year.

Rhino calf found dead alongside poached mother

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From “News24.com”

Johannesburg – A rhino cow was on Wednesday night shot dead presumably with an R5 assault rifle near Roedtan in Limpopo. Her hamstrings and horns were chopped off with an axe.

Earlier in the day, a rhino bull was shot dead with an AK47 assault rifle in the Hluhluwe-Umfolozi nature reserve in KwaZulu-Natal and his horns were sawn off.

This brought the amount of rhino that had been killed by poachers since the beginning of last year to 300. This year, 178 rhinos have already been killed countrywide.

These numbers included the poached rhino and the calves that died after the mothers were killed.

Captain Herman Lubbe of the Modimolle (Nylstroom) police’s cattle theft unit said the cow that had been poached in Roedtan, was 40 years old and her horn was 93cm long.

According to Riaan de Jager from the Limpopo department of environmental affairs, the rhino had been shot several times.

Professional hunter

The owner of the farm did not want to make his name known as he feared more poaching.

Faan Coetzee, head of the Rhino Security Project at the Endangered Wildlife Trust said the bull that was poached in KwaZulu-Natal was killed with one shot to the head.

It looked like it could be the work of a professional hunter. “The animal’s horns were sawn off with precision. It means the horns were sawn off right at the nose,” said Coetzee.

Rangers in the Kruger National Park also found the carcass of a badly decomposed rhino cow. Her calf of about two years old was apparently still with the carcass. The cow was presumably poached about two weeks ago.

André Snyman, the founder of eBlockwatch, said on Thursday he was on the verge of starting a database of rhino poaching on the website. Members of eBlockwatch in the Roedtan area helped nature conservation officials and police on Thursday with the tracking of poachers.

Soldiers deployed in Kruger Park

Coetzee said he had learnt that the national unit against poaching, which Water Affairs and Conservation Minister Buyelwa Sonjica was starting, would soon begin operations.

The defence force announced on Wednesday that 150 soldiers would be deployed from April 1 in the Kruger National Park to help fight rhino poaching.

Game farmers and auctioneers who attended the Soutpansberg game auction in Alldays on Friday believed that rhino poaching was the reason why not one of the 16 white rhino in the safety catalogue were sold. The two black rhino were also not auctioned off.

– Anyone with information about the Roedtan case could call Lubbe on 084 515 6925.

The Namibian Seal Cull

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This is in Namibia, animals beaten to death
• The Namibian authorities have given permission for 86 000 seals to be clubbed
to death – 80 000 of them nursing seal pups. This is the largest slaughter of wildlife in Africa and it happens every year.
• Independent observers have concluded the killing methods to be cruel and
inhumane, causing unnecessary suffering. (See the SA Journal of Science 2010,
106(3/4.)
• Namibia is contravening its own Animal Protection Act, which expressly forbids
beating an animal to death. Hiding in terror.
• It is not about conservation, since there is solid scientific evidence that the
Cape fur seal is being threatened by extinction, and that it does not adversely
affect Namibia’s fisheries. (The quota of pups to be ‘harvested’ now exceeds
the number of pups alive on the first day of the ‘cull’.)
• South Africa stopped its seal culling in 1990 for the above reasons, and Namibia
was advised by the Commission on Sealing to follow suit.
• The Namibian Government has ignored all pleas, stating that it will not be
prescribed to by anyone.
• Clubbers hardly benefit, since they cannot even support their families. We are
advocating the promotion of community-based, sustainable seal-viewing ecotourism,
which already yields 10 times the revenue generated by the sealing
industry.
• There is no market for the pelts any longer, since the European Union has
placed a ban on the import of all seal products. All the pelts are bought by a
single businessman, Hatem Yavuz. He buys the pelts at US$6, whereas tourists
pay US$12 to view the living seals.
We ask that all people who care about other sentient beings should help
end this scourge by:
– Boycotting Namibian products
– Halting all tourism to Namibia
– Writing to organisations worldwide to gain their support
– Speaking for the voiceless by writing to the Namibian press and the Namibian
authorities, eg to the Namibian High Commissioner in South Africa, His
Excellency Mr Philemon Kambala, at secretary@namibia.org.za

Check out other websites such as the Anti-Fur Coalition

or Fur Free South Africa

as well as Seal Alert SA

You can also google petitions which are active in your area and inform as many people as possible as to the plight of these poor animals.

Facts on Fur

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The fur trade. Just the very mention and the mind starts spinning. Of course it is an emotional issue, but before you think I am some kind of weird hippie or am here to promote my moral superiority, please bear in mind that I have actually done considerable research into the subject.

As with any argument, it is of utmost importance that one is first presented with the facts. Here they are. Undisputed.

Each year around 50 MILLION animals are slaughtered for their fur. Animals include, but are not limited to foxes, rabbits, cats, dogs, wolves, bears, hamsters, raccoons, mink, moles, chinchillas, lynx, beavers, skunks, seals, coyotes, leopards, tigers, otters and squirrels.

Around 85% of these 50 million animals are raised in various fur farms around the world. The living conditions of these caged animals invariably involves unhygienic, cramped and squalid living accommodations, with insufficient space for maneuverability and a lack of water. Cages, made out of wire mesh, are usually stacked on top of one another in long rows under an open shed. Sometimes, while being moved around, animals inside these cages have their legs broken. Small farms usually have around a hundred animals, while some of the larger fur farms, such as those in Scandinavia, can have up to a hundred thousand.

Animals subjected to these conditions frequently develop physical and behavioural problems induced by the stress of their caging. Aside from frantic and ceaseless pacing, reports of self-mutilation where the animals bite their skin, tails and feet are not uncommon. Malnutrition and overcrowding also result in increased disease susceptibility and more parasites. Because of these un-natural conditions one finds an unusually high rate of cub mortality, as much as 25% in foxes. Infanticide, where the mother eats her own young, is also a regular occurrence. Mink, which rely heavily on water, are often found dead from heat exhaustion, especially in summer where they cannot find water to cool themselves. Water is usually via a nipple system which freezes in winter.

Number of Animals to Make a Fur Coat:
12-15 lynx
10-15 wolves or coyotes
15-20 foxes
20-25 cats
60-80 minks
27-30 raccoons
10-12 beavers
60-100 squirrels

In order to preserve the pelt, and thus maximize profits, fur farmers employ some fairly gruesome methods in order to kill the animals. Some of these are listed as follows. Anal electrocution, where the shock causes the animals eyeballs to burst and it contorts so violently the spasms break its back. Some animals, struggling in pain and terror have their necks twisted and broken. Others, particularly seal pups, are bludgeoned to death. Their heads beaten so hard the skulls collapse. Some fury creatures are injected with strychnine which causes spasms in the muscles, starting with the head and neck. The spasms spread to every muscle causing continuous convulsions until death, in the form of asphyxiation caused by paralysis, comes some 15-25 minutes later. Cats are usually strangled with wire nooses and have water poured down their throats until they drown. Many creatures are simply gassed with exhaust fumes. This unreliable method often leads to the animal waking up to find itself being skinned alive.

As for the environment, it has been found that the amount of energy required to make a genuine fur coat is approximately 20 times that of a fake fur garment. Chemicals used to stop the fur from rotting also render it not bio-degradable and the very use of these chemicals can also lead to water contamination.

Unlike the meat industry, where the meat is used as a source of food, the fur industry serves no purpose other than to pander to the whims of vanity. Some 80 000 Cape Fur Seals and a further 350 000 Harp Seals are slaughtered each year in Namibia and New Foundland respectively. If you were to line these animals up side by side, you would have a line of almost 300 Kilometers long. However, less than 2% meat is used and carcasses are left to rot on the ice floes.