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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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Shark Finning

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Shark finning… yet another barbaric practice to get your blood boiling. It is estimated that up to 100 MILLION sharks are killed each year for their fins.

The shocking point to this is that a bowl of Shark Fin Soup can cost as much as $150. There is ZERO nutritional value, the taste is mainly from the broth and the fin is added simply to provide texture.


What is really tragic is the fact that the shark gets hauled on board a ship, has its fins sliced off and then is tossed back into the sea and left to drown.

This is the reality of shark finning.

With the Chinese New Year, there has been an inevitable increase in demand for shark fin soup. Although culture is a wonderful thing, there are times when it clouds our judgment and becomes detrimental to the environment. I urge you to PLEASE not order this dish. Inform others, make wise decisions and play an active role in securing the future for all to enjoy. For more info and a list of petitions, click HERE!

A tribute to Sea Shepherd

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I made this last night for Sea Shepherd SA. Very moving, I hope you like it. No copy right infringement intended. Backing track is Sarah McLachlan. I do not own the rights to the pics, they were taken off the web. I do not make money out of this.

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.