Brad and Angelina, you promoted the view of Namibia as a wonderful tourist destination. You could not have known what happens there on the 1st of July every year. Pups as helpless as Shiloh once was, are attacked by men with clubs and beaten to death in their thousands.
From today (the 1st of July), 85 thousand Cape Fur seal pups are being savagely beaten to death for their fur pelts. Six thousand bulls will be shot so that their penises may be used to make an ineffective aphrodisiac. For the next 139 days, terrified pups will be rounded up, separated from their mothers and be violently beaten to death.
The colony will be rounded up at day break. Pups, bulls and cows will be surrounded and kept away from the safety of the sea. Men with clubs move in and the seals run in fear.
To kill a seal, the men need to administer a swift blow to the head. This is supposed to cause the cranium to disintegrate. This initial strike is seldom sufficient to kill the animal and, as it tries to take evasive action, it is repeatedly beaten until it is either dead or unconscious. The sealer then stabs the little ones in the throat, sometimes while they are still alive. The baby seals are known to become so terrified that they will vomit up their mother's milk.
The sand on the beach is stained pink from all the blood. Carcasses are hurled onto the backs of waiting vehicles and the bulldozers set to work cleaning up the blood before the tourists arrive to view the colony. Each year, despite a declining population, the quota gets increased.
The Cape Fur Seal is listed on Appendix 2 of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species. (CITES) This means that they are not yet threatened with extinction, but their survival is dependent on conservation. They have a natural mortality rate of around 30% within the first few weeks of being born.
In Canada, sealing only begins after the pup is fully weaned and is self surviving. The Cape Fur Seal however, takes much longer to wean, up to 11 months. Clubbing begins when they are seven months old. Yes, still baby babies.
Loss of habitat, the fishing industry and starvation are already major threats to these animals. There have been two mass die offs in the last 20 years (at least 300 thousand seals have died from starvation). What justification is there for the Namibian government to increase the killing quota from 31% to 79%? This amounts to a seal genocide!
The ministry of fisheries claims it has on several occasions asked the public for a more humane method of culling. To date, no one has come up with a solution. The cull is driven by ONE man. Hatem Yavuz. He has the contract to buy every skin from the Namibian cull until 2019. He pays $7 per pelt while foreign tourists pay $12 to view the colony (after the bull-dozers have cleaned up the beach that is). His solution to the method of culling is: "In order for them to feel less pain, they need to be killed with a club that has a nail in it.”
Why is this man being allowed to cause the miserable deaths of thousands of animals? In 20 years time when we look back on this outrage, will we ever forgive ourselves for allowing it to happen?
Brad and Angelina, please put your international profile to good use once again; this time for the sake of the seals and for the country that so impressed you. Please confirm that you did not know about the killing when you praised Namibia, and tell the world what you think of the brutality.