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Namibia. Seal cull facts.

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Tomorrow the annual slaughter of thousands of seals is set to begin in Namibia. I am getting a lot of people asking me the same questions and how to respond to various counter arguments. In order for you to understand the complexities, and to put the whole thing in perspective, I have put this note together. Please feel free to use, tag and share.
The Seals are eating the fish. Their numbers need to be controlled. 
What do you expect them to eat? Lettuce?
  • The seal population has dropped from over 2 million to less than 850 000. They are an endangered species, appearing on both Appendix II of CITES as well as on the IUCN Red List. They have a natural mortality rate of over 30% in the first few weeks of being born. 90% of their preferred habitats of small off shore islands have been wiped out in the last 60 years. They have suffered several mass die offs, the most recent being in 2006 where an estimated 350 000 seals died from starvation. This is the largest die off of any marine mammal in recorded history. Cape Fur Seals will normally breed every third year. By killing the baby at seven months, the seal cows will breed EVERY year. If the seals are eating the fish, why are they beating baby seals to death? These juveniles are still suckling from the teat and only begin to eat solids at around 12 months. Is it simply coincidence their soft pelts are more valuable??  
  • Since independence, the Namibian government increased its annual fishing harvest from 300 000 tons to 600 000 tons without doing any sustainability studies. At the time, the colony stood at well over million, and you can ask any avid fisherman, fish were PLENTIFUL in Namibia. The annual slaughter then killed 30 000 seals. Now, the population stands at 850 000 seals, there are no fish and they slaughter 91 000. This makes no sense. They are not doing this to protect fisheries. This is a blatant case of gross mismanagement of resources based on economic greed. When SA  ended our seal culling policy in 1990, our own fisheries were up in arms. But, SA fishing industry has seen nothing but positive growth.
The best way to control their numbers would be to end this slaughter immediately, give the seals the protection they deserve and allow the population to stabilise and recover. 
The Slaughter provides much needed employment and is an important industry for Govt revenue.
The slaughter of seals in Namibia is not an industry. It amounts to nothing more than a small business. If a pelt retails for $7 and the govt get $2 of that, the equation is simple. US$2 x 91 000 seals = $182 000. Grannies knitting circle can do better. 
  •  When the annual quota for slaughter stood at 30 000 seals, 160 people were involved in the clubbing. The quota now stands at 91 000 and only 81 people are SEASONALLY employed for 4 months of the year. They earn less than R50/day. (Around US$8 per day) A seal pelt sells for US$7 It takes 6 pelts to make a coat. These coats sell for US$30 000.00 The money goes to a foreign Turkish businessman who sucks the money OUT of Namibia so he can live the high life in Australia. There is no profit sharing scheme in place. The workers live in tin shacks in shanties in Henties Bay. They cannot even feed their families. Drug and alcohol abuse is rife. Domestic violence is common. Beating hundreds of baby animals to death each day is an assault on their human dignity. They have no recourse to stress and trauma councelling.
  • A medium sized hotel, with tours to the colony, sight seeing etc can employ as many as 1000 people. All year round. Niche markets can be developed for seal guano as fertilizer, conservation initiatives developed, skills training, job creation. Models based on eco-tourism show that 80 x more revenue can be generated with subsidary industries being developed. But no; Namibia will carry on violating its own laws to get a benefit of less than $200 000 in revenue.
Your decision to boycott has back fired. Namibia has now banned media from covering the cull and a boycott is unfair to the people of Namibia.
Backfired? Don’t be naive! This is an incredible VICTORY! 
  • Boycott was NOT our first option. We began this campaign by first looking into a broad spectrum of alternatives. We approached the Namibian SPCA and asked them to intervene. To our shock and horror, it turned out they do not believe a seal is an animal and they publicly condoned the cull. We turned to the Ministry of Fisheries. In the face of no scientific evidence, the Ministry blamed the mismanagement of their own resources of the seals. Respected organizations from around the world pleaded with the government, the Ministry of Fisheries, the Directorate of Environmental Affairs and the Department of Environment and Tourism. Francois Hugo met with the Prime Minister, campaigns got no-where. Individuals wrote letters to Namibian embassies around the world. Despite an EU ban on seal products, the seals continued to be slaughtered and journalists were getting beaten up and detained on non existent laws. After exhausting all possible angles, we found we were left with no other alternative but to institute an economic boycott.
  • Namibia are feeling the pressure. They have responded with a media ban. This is GREAT! I am absolutely thrilled! Firstly, it shows that the boycott is having an effect. It has got the Namibian Government to react. Now we have yet ANOTHER avenue to attack them with. Not only is this an animal rights issue, where Namibia are contravening their own animal protection act, this is also a human rights issue. Namibia are violating their media laws and the freedom of speech. It does not mean the media is out of the picture. On the contrary, by the very fact that Namibia has put this blanket ban on the media, more international media will demand to know what is going on. 
  • When South Africa was under Apartheid, we were hit with boycotts. This was done to generate media awareness and force a change in the status quo. Sadly people in South Africa were affected even though they did not support the government policy. While we regret this “collateral damage” we implore the citizens of Namibia to demand that the government change its seal culling policy with immediate effect. It is costing Namibia untold millions. It is tarnishing the reputation of a fantastic country and is crippling an already unstable economy. If change comes from within, the slaughter will be ended a lot sooner than from external pressure of foreigners. 
The slaughter of seals is about maintaining balance. It is a conservation initiative.
Get real!
  •  The removal of any apex predator from the food chain goes against all scietifically proven and internationally accepted conservation practices. The fact that hundreds of thousands of these animals are bludgeoned to death, even though they are endangered, is nothing short of foolish, iniquitous, barbaric and savage. CITES does allow for a sustainable harvest. The conditions to this are that the harvest falls under the juristiction of the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism. This is not a sustainable harvest. It is a commercial harvest, as the slaughter falls under the Department of Fisheries. Here AGAIN, Namibia are contravening their own laws. The juristiction of the Department of Fisheries is the off-shore islands, the sea, the sea bed up to the high water mark. Slaughter takes place on a reserve, 150 meters ABOVE the high water mark
Have you ever been to see the colony or witnessed the slaughter?
  • No. By the same token, one does not need to have survived Auschwitz in order to know German Nazi concentration camps were horrific, despicable and vile.
Your argument is flawed. It is based on emotional reasoning, not scientific fact.
The only people who have no scientific fact are the Namibian Government. Not a single publication of theirs in support of the slaughter has been acceptably peer reviewed using independent sources.
  • Please refer to the following links before you make such groundless accusations.  
SA Journal of Science 2010, 106(3/4),
I have tons of scientific information. Enough to fill 8 gigs. But there is only ONE piece of scientific information you need. Watch this clip and tell me if this is justifiable. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x7EGV5Jw_V4 
For further information, please refer to The Seals of Nam website. https://sites.google.com/site/thesealsofnam/
Thanks
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Ivory Wars –> The Elephants Bloodbath

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Another clip I made for You-tube




According to the Mail and Guardian, over 600 000 elephants were poached in the 1970s and 1980s!!

Worldwide concern over the decline of the elephant led to a complete ban on the ivory trade in 1990. Elephants have been placed on Appendix 1 of CITES, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, which means ALL trade in elephant parts is prohibited. Some governments have cracked down hard on poachers. In some countries, park rangers are told to shoot poachers on sight.

Poaching has caused the collapse of elephants’ social structure as well as decimating their numbers. As the price of ivory soared, poachers became more organized, using automatic weapons, motorized vehicles, and airplanes to chase and kill thousands of elephants. To governments and revolutionaries mired in civil wars and strapped for cash, poaching ivory became a way to pay for more firearms and supplies.

23 000 elephants are illegally poached each year. 6% of all Africa’s elephants are brutally slaughtered so their tusks can be hacked out of their jaws. 

The killing stops with YOU!!

Stop the bloodshed. Don’t help to pay for wars in Africa. Don’t buy Ivory or even support stores that stock ivory. 

Trapping and Fur. The UGLY truth behind the lies of Fashion

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I put this clip together to expose the shocking truth about the fur industry. Please feel free to share it, repost and get the word out. Hopefully it will touch the heart of at least one person who will stand up and actively do something to put an end to cruelty. It is one thing to talk about opposing cruelty, but DOING something is way more commendable. And rewarding.
For more info, check out Fur Free South Africa

"The Seals of Nam" – a true horror story

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Ok. So Christmas has come and gone and we sit here patiently waiting for the new years celebrations to begin. As I reflect on the year behind me, I can honestly say 2010 was a most rewarding year. Sure it had it’s low points, but I chose at the beginning of the year to make a difference, not only in my life, but in the lives of others as well. I bungee jumped the worlds highest, I walked with cheetahs, I climbed a mountain, I joined Sea Shepherd, I helped organize anti whaling demonstrations and am now busy with THE SEALS OF NAM 

The Seals of Nam getting beaten to death in Namibia



“The Seals of Nam” is an initiative whereby I hope to bring ALL interested parties from around the world to join forces in condemnation of the cruel and barbaric practice of seal clubbing. 91 THOUSAND Cape Fur Seals are clubbed to death on the beaches of Namibia. 67 THOUSAND Harp Seals are clubbed to death on the ice floes of Canada. 21 March 2011 is International Human Rights Day. It is Namibian Independence Day. And… it is the day set aside for international protest action for the thousands of seals brutally clubbed to death each year. 


You, the reader of my humble blog, are also invited to take part and become active in trying to stop the gross and inhumane practice of seal clubbing. Don’t think that as an individual you can’t do anything. There is LOADS you can do to become involved. This evil thrives because good people are not taking any action.  


Here is a list of just a few things you can easily do. Not only will you be doing a favour for the seals of Namibia and Canada, but you will also feel good about yourself, knowing you have played a role in trying to prevent this annual slaughter. 


Spread the word. Inform media, radio stations, news papers etc.Tweet and blog the about “The Seals of Nam -a true horror story.” For more info on the horrors of the Namibian Seal Cull, click here 

Invite all you Facebook friends and e-mail contacts to this global event.http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=142174952503151

Start a protest in your city for the 21st March 2011. Its actually easier than you think. Here are some tips  Keep me informed on progress, so I can open communication channels between groups from the same place. This will make the campaign so much more effective.

You can sign online petitions and send mail to celebrities asking them to actively support and promote our initiative. Pamela Anderson, Paul McCartney and Charlize Theron are known to actively protest against the fur industry. Charlize in particular. She comes from South Africa and Namibia is its neighbour. Charlize supports the rhino cause as well as many others. Here is one contact address for her

Charlize Theron:
Postal address: c/o United Talent Agency
9560 Wilshire Blvd.
Suite 500
Beverly Hills
CA 90212
USA

Oprah is looking for people to interview for her final seasonSuggest Francois Hugo from Seal Alert SA who has been at the forefront of this fight for years. Ellen Degeneres is also big into animal welfare. The more people who request it, the greater our chances at getting the exposure we so desperately need.

Contact all the big name movements (and the little ones too), Sea Shepherd, Greenpeace, PETA, Bridget Bardot, WWF, Coalition to Abolish Fur Trade, WSPA, Animal Liberation Front, Vegan Society etc. Inform them that there is not a single animal charity to have an active campaign to protect “The Seals of Nam” Invite them to join this global initiative, where interested parties put aside their differences and work towards the common good. We shall, despite our differences, unite as one in condemnation of these atrocities. March 21 2011 is not only Human Rights Day and Namibian Independence day but ESPECIALLY the day for Cape Fur Seals, “The Seals of Nam” Provide these organizations with a link to this facebook events page.http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=142174952503151

As the groups join, they are to please indicate the Name of the Org on the wall, the name of the contact person, city or region and provide a link to their website. I will update the page accordingly and they will be credited as being “on board” If I miss one in error, they can please remind me by contacting me directly so I can fix.

Hatem Yavuz is the sole buyer of Cape Fur Seal pelts. He drives this murderous cull. You can mail him your thoughts. Tell him his time as “King of the Cull” is up. Here are contact details for his business
Hatem Yavuz Deri
43A Ethel Street
Seaforth
Sydney
Australia
…tel: (61-2) 9948 5366
e-mail hatemyavuz@superonline.com
If you do get a response, please post it on the event page.

You can also send mails to the Namibian Government. Here is a list  of all their embassies, high commissions and consulates. Tell them you will boycott not only their tourism, but also all Namibian produce and you will actively discourage people from visiting their country if they do not end the cull. You can inform travel agents and ask them not to promote Namibia as a destination.Provide an alternative solution to the cull, such as large scale eco-tourism, which will not only generate increased wealth, but will also lead to the creation of many jobs in a country desperate for employment.

The SPCA in Namibia have both the legislative power and mandate to end this cull. Not only are they not living up to their name, The Society for PREVENTION of CRUELTY to animals, but they have CONDONED this madness, publicly stating that the violent clubbing of 91 000 seals to death is HUMANE!! I kid you not. Here is a news article
The Animal Protection Act of 1962 (Namibia) applies to all animals, it governs both domestic animals as well as wildlife. The act clearly states that beating an animal to death is an act of cruelty. This link will take you to the contact page of their website. Please feel free to send them as much hate mail as you wish.

Francois Hugo of Seal Alert SA with one of his beloved seals



At the time of writing this post, I am pleased to announce that Seal Alert SA and Oceanic Defence have confirmed full support. I have Pete Bethune from Earthrace signing off on funding and getting final confirmation and Sea Shepherd have also expressed interest. 


Thanks so much. Have a safe holiday and an amazing and productive 2011.