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T-shirts from The Seals of Nam

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Hey so check it out!
The folks at T. A. G Printing  have very kindly offered to print The Seals of Nam T-shirts at cost. So, we kicked it off with “design and win” type compo. Here are the first results to have been submitted. What do you reckon? If you would like to order, please refer to The Seals of Nam website for details.

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

The Seals of Nam

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Ok. Been a while since I last blogged, with the past few days being extremely busy. My campaign “The Seals of Nam” has taken off quite nicely and much positive feedback from the website. News articles and blogs are starting to publish the horrors of the Namibian seal massacre (the largest slaughter of wildlife on earth) and many are joining me in the call to BOYCOTT NAMIBIA.


I am absolutely thrilled with the support I have got and need to make special mention of and thanks to BITE BACK in Belgium for staging protests outside the Namibian embassy, FUR FREE SA as well as well as BEAUTY WITHOUT CRUELTY and SASSI for all the tremendous effort they put in. The media campaign has turned into a major success with local South African celebrities lending their voices to the campaign.

Bite Back protest in Brussels

ANIMALS AUSTRALIA will be demonstrating in Brisbane and although Sea Shepherd are not a protest organization, our CEO Steve Roest has granted the South African chapter to stage protests later in the year. These will take place in Cape Town and Pretoria. I also hope to involve other international chapters so as to increase awareness to the plight of the Cape Fur Seals and add additional pressure on the Namibian government to end the slaughter. I would also like to thank Sea Shepherd in particular for publishing my article on their website and Facebook pages. The amount of awareness this has generated has been phenomenal. 
If you would like to know more about the campaign and how you can help, with links to petitions and who you can write to etc CLICK HERE
If you represent an organization and would like to join us in an official capacity, you can send us an email by clicking HERE 

This baby seal was savagely beaten. It then had its throat slit while it was still alive

Open Letter to the Government of Namibia

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Dear members of the media.


Each year in Namibia 85 000 baby seals are brutally beaten to death on the beaches of Namibia in a cull larger than that of Canada. Journalists who try to film the cull are arrested and detained  by way of non-existent laws. The workers involved in the cull earn below minimum wage. There is no profit sharing scheme in place. The pelts are sold for $7 to an Australian who sells the fur coats for $ 30 000. Is this not absolute gross exploitation? The Cape Fur Seals are listed as threatened on appendix 2 of CITES and are recognised as such by all signatories to the United Nations.

Below is an open letter I have drafted to the Namibian Government. You are welcome to discuss it on air in your talk shows as well as on your news and printed media. This letter is being forwarded to all radio stations, news papers, magazines and tourism institutions and is also being circulated on social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
For the attention of the Government of Namibia

Dear Honourable Members

It is with great sadness that I draft this letter as a citizen of neighbouring South Africa. Namibia has for many years been a destination I have looked forward to travelling to, not only for its close proximity, but especially for the multitude of attractions it has on offer. From the magnificence of the Etosha National Park and the Caprivi region to quad bike and 4×4 trails, star-gazing from the worlds oldest desert dunes to the Fish River Canyon and the scattered bones and shipwrecks of the Skeleton Coast, Namibia is a place alive with possibilities. It is surely one of the best destinations for any would be adventurer and I can think of few things better than enjoying ice cold Windhoek Beers under the shade of palm trees on the promenades of Swakopmund.

I find it sadly ironic that a country with so much potential choses to isolate itself from international tourism on the basis of its annual seal cull. The violent, savage and cruel beating to death of 85 000 baby seals is totally unacceptable. 

My challenge to you is to put an immediate end to this barbaric practice. The cull is totally unnecessary and does nothing positive for your country except to appease the greedy commercial interests of one Hatem Yavuz. In fact, all the cull is doing is tarnishing your status as viable international tourist destination. Employment for the 150 people involved in the clubbing of seals can (and will) be found if you took the initiative to market your seal colony properly in terms of eco-tourism. 

This correspondence serves to inform you that until the cull is ended, I will boycott your country not only in terms of tourism, but all Namibian produce. I will not drink those wonderful beers as previously mentioned, I will not buy “blood diamonds” from De Beers who support your economy, I will not purchase my favourite hand made German chocolates. I will ensure that any marble, aluminium or tin that I purchase does not come from Namibia. I will inform and discourage my friends from supporting your country and I will continue raising awareness to an international audience by making use of the internet and popular social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, Orkit, Bebo, Google Buzz and StumbleUpon.

Please understand that I am not doing this out of malice or spite, but the continued slaughter goes against every grain of my beliefs. I urge you to become heroes, end the cull and be the proud leaders we would like to look up to.

Kind regards,


On the 15th of March, Myself, FUR FREE SOUTH AFRICA, Beauty Without Cruelty, The International Anti-Fur Coalition, Bite Back and numerous other organizations will be holding mass actions around the world, either in the form of actual demonstrations or via radio and print media awareness campaigns.

If you would like any further information, pictures or actual footage of the cull, or if you have any questions I could assist you with, you are welcome to contact me. I am also prepared to make myself available for any interviews if so required.

Kind Regards,

Patrick Dickens

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

Anti-Fur Demo Cape Town 11-Dec-2010

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Tomorrow, 11 December is for personal family reasons, both a joyous and sad day. Tomorrow is also a day of activism and action. Since I am not to keen on going into my personal life on this blog, lets see what the activism and action entails.

Fox skinned for its fur

In Greenpoint, Cape Town, Beauty Without Cruelty SA will be holding a NO FUR rally outside the Cape Quarter Lifestyle Centre from 11am to 1pm. They are protesting the cruel deaths of some 50 MILLION animals farmed each year for the fur trade. These animals are usually kept under shocking conditions and die horrid deaths through being beaten, electrocuted, gassed, strangled and generally tortured to death. A further 10 to 15 million animals are savagely trapped each year, choking to death in snares, or being crushed in body traps.

10-15 million animals trapped each year

You can make a difference, not only in your attendance of this event, but also by educating others about the plight of these animals. Make informed decisions when buying garments and chose not to be a part of it. Don’t be fooled by terms such as “Faux” because more often than not these are rabbit or cat. Origin Assured is propaganda put out by the fur industry to fool you into thinking fur is not cruel. Don’t be deceived by this bull.

If you wish to attend, wear red to signify the blood shed. Fur belongs on the loin-cloth of Neanderthals, not on the garments of modern man in an age of internet and air-conditioning.

Bag a Bob-Cat

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The 26 November was World Wide Fur Free Day. Fur Free South Africa, in conjunction with the Global Fur Free Initiative, held demonstrations in Johannesburg. It was attended by a fair number of people.

While putting together a portfolio of cruelty, which I will use in educating others about the fur industry, I came across this clip on You-tube. Watch this and then tell me if YOU think this is acceptable.

Trapping is responsible for the death of over 10 MILLION animals each year. Personally I feel trapper mentality belongs in an era of loin cloths. Not the 21st century. You don’t need to be a member of PETA to realise this is a cruel practice.

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.

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.