In putting this website together, we have aimed to make it as easy as possible to provide you with accurate, relevant and up to date information. In this section you will find the answers to some of the more common questions.
If you have an unanswered query, you are welcome to submit it to our team by via our contact page.
Each year the controversy around the seal cull rages on. What is different this time?
- The mere fact that there is a controversy is cause for alarm. It boils down to a simple case of unacceptable mass cruelty and the violation of recognised animal rights and welfare standards. The slaughtering of thousands of a CITES protected species and the removal of an apex predator from the food chain goes against every grain of scientifically proven conservation practices.
- In the past, any organizations that were involved opposing this massacre each led a separate and individual campaign. This time, by uniting under a general banner, we are able to pool our ideas, share resources and collectively inform our support base as to the atrocities happening in Namibia. Our combined strength has paid massive dividends. We have staged protests in leading international cities, we have local and international celebrities endorsing our boycott and print, electronic and broadcast media around the world are reporting on the matter. We have capitalised on social networks such as Facebook and Twitter and we are employing effective, target specific e-mail campaigns.
The seals are eating all the fish. They need to be culled to control their numbers.
- Namibia’s seal slaughter is NOT a cull. It is a commercial hunt. The slaughter targets 80 000 nursing pups and 6 000 alpha breeding bulls. Namibia is the only country on earth to beat un-weaned pups to death.
- The seal population has dropped from over 2 million to less than 1.2 million. They are a threatened 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. They have suffered seven major mass die offs in the last 15 years, 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 second 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 10 months. Is it simply coincidence their soft pelts are more valuable??
- If it were a cull (ie to reduce the population and thus protect fish stocks as government claims) the targets would be the breeding females. However, since mostly male pups and bulls are targeted (so that their penises can make ineffective sex potions for the East) we are left with a an un-natural situation where there are proportionately many more females in a given population. Since one bull can mate with up to 40 females, you are not reducing the population, you are INCREASING it. Calling it a “cull” is simply another lie in a web of deceitful propaganda the government likes to bandy about to justify their barbarity.
- Since independence, the Namibian government increased its annual fishing harvest from 300 000 tons to 600 000 tons. No public records of a sustainability study can be found. At the time, the colony stood at well over 1.5 million, and you can ask any avid fisherman, fish were PLENTIFUL in Namibia. The annual slaughter then killed 9 000 seals. Now, the population stands at 650 000 seals, there are no fish and they slaughter 86 000. 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 their seal hunt in 1990, our own fisheries were up in arms. But, SA fishing industry has seen nothing but positive growth. The growth rate of the colony at Kleinzee slowed from 161% to just 5% (fact based on statistics provided by the SA government)
- The collapse of Namibia’s fishing industry cannot be blamed on seals at all but rather on over-fishing and environmental factors playing out in the Benguela current. The Benguela Nino has displaced juvenile hake from their spawning grounds, causing them to move to deeper cooler water. Here they are preyed upon by adult hake since both species are canabalistic. Because they have not yet reached sexual maturity, the hake do not breed causing a collapse in stocks.
The Slaughter provides much needed employment and is an important industry for Govt revenue.
- When the annual quota for slaughter stood at 30 000 seals, 160 people were involved in the clubbing. The quota now stands at 86 000 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 counseling.
- An independent report commissioned by the Humane Society, The World Society for the Protection of Animals, Bont Voor Dieren and Respect for Animals clearly shows seal viewing can generate THREE HUNDRED times more revenue than the current slaughter. We believe that the seal colony should be developed into a brand, something people identify with as a national symbol, something to be proud of, rather than it being the current national disgrace.
- 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 300 x more revenue can be generated with subsidiary industries being developed.
- If the Namibian government is so concerned about providing jobs for their own people, why are all their construction tenders being awarded to the Chinese? (who also happen to have business interests in seal skins and products!) See the following relevant news articles Chinese outfits wipe out Nam builders as well as Building contract stuck in the starting blocks
The slaughter of seals is about maintaining balance. It is a conservation initiative.
- The removal of any apex predator from the food chain goes against all scientifically proven and internationally accepted conservation practices. The fact that hundreds of thousands of these animals are bludgeoned to death, especially since they are CITES listed, 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 jurisdiction 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 is contravening their own laws. The jurisdiction 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. The country’s ombudsman does not agree and has ruled there is no violation of the law. Then again, the man also ruled that a seal is not an animal so where does that leave us?
Seal Heart Valves are being used extensively for medical research
Dr. David Lavigne, science adviser for the International Fund for Animal Welfare, says he’s heard this story before. “We roll our eyes every time it comes up,” says Lavigne, who for 23 years taught zoology at the University of Guelph in Guelph, Ontario. “It doesn’t seem very likely — or very necessary.”
Mr. Lavigne, who has studied seals since 1969, says he is unaware of a demand for more bioprosthetic valves. Seals carry bacteria and viruses that could prove harmful to humans
Except for Dr. Agathos and a few Quebec researchers, there appear to be few heart valve experts who know anything about seal valves and none using vales from Cape Fur Seals. Only valves from Harp seals appear in any experiments. We contacted several well-known heart institutions and those that responded said they had no one qualified to comment. One doctor from Australia could confirm no such experiments or research involving seal hearts was being undertaken in the entire country. We also sought comment about seal valves from Edwards Lifesciences, a 6200-employee company based in California that touts itself as “the global leader in the science of heart valves and homodynamic monitoring.” (It reported US$1.24 billion in sales in 2008.) In an email, Sarah Huoh, the company’s senior manager of global communications, said that “Edwards has not as a company done any research in the area.”