Letter to the President of Namibia
Petition urging Honorable Hifikepunye Pohamba, the President of Namibia, to stop the seal slaughter that takes place on the Namibian beaches located in Southern Africa.
- President of Namibia
Honorable Hifikepunye Pohamba
I was shocked to learn that the Namibian government allows tens of thousands of seals to be slaughtered in the annual war on seals. These gentle animals are shot or have their skulls smashed in by hunters. Seals are then skinned for their fur, often while they are still conscious. I oppose this hunt on both welfare and conservation grounds. The unsustainable slaughter of newborns will one day leave the coasts of Namibia bereft of the beauty these animals bring to your people. It is unclear whether these migrating populations’ seals can survive the intensity of this hunt that is poorly regulated, unsustainable, and horrendously cruel.
The killing beaches where the slaughter occurs are a devastating trail of endless red as hunters slaughter babies in front of their nursing mothers. Whether they bleed to death from a club, or are shot with rifles and shotguns, the seals suffer an agonizing and terrifying death through these methods. The seal cull turns Namibia's pristine wilderness into a bloodbath, and as such, are a direct threat to a real and valuable seal watching industry that is growing worldwide, along with a growing respect and care for marine life.
Accordingly, important issues surrounding Namibia’s annual seal cull merit your urgent attention. They also deserve a commitment to honesty and respect for the facts not in evidence during the recent interview by the Minister of Fisheries, Dr Abraham Iyambo, to parliament on seal culling as reported by Namibian state-owned Newera newspaper. The Ministers statements were false, one-sided and totally misleading, and more appalling, that it was a necessary “evil”.
Far from presenting a balanced overview on the sustainable use of the seal resource to parliament, the Minister's one-sided statement, "Ministerial Statement on Seal Harvesting" supported only one aspect of seal use in Namibia. The Minister concealed completely the benefits of non-consumptive use of seals, the millions earned in seal viewing revenue, impact the seal cull might have on tourism, the millions invested in boat-based seal viewing, the investment potential of increased seal ecosystem, the natural seal culls through mass die-offs and jackal predation that have recently plagued the species, the need to repopulate extinct former seal islands, the global economic downturn and the effect's it has had on exporting luxury seal skins, the overall effects of the European Union seal import ban and the scientific findings of the European Food Safety Authority which had determined that Namibia's sealing methods are cruel and inhumane.
I must take particular issue with the statements of the Minister that the seal cull is humane. This is both false and preposterous. Despite tireless efforts by your government, there is not a single reputable "expert", “animal welfare group” or "veterinary group" that has observed the cull, or photos and videos of the cull, and called it humane. Years of observing and documenting the seal cull have led all experts to conclude it is an inherently cruel and abhorrent slaughter, one that gravely compromises not only the welfare of seals but also the safety and well being of the hunters. Even if hunting seals is part of a native cultural practice, it does not justify mass slaughter for the commercial market. It is time to transition Namibian sealers into new and more rewarding industries that do not involve cruelty to animals. Doing so will ensure the restoration of Namibia's reputation as a humane and ecologically responsible society.
Your failure to act responsibly regarding my request will leave me with only one alternative. To join a global campaign to boycott Namibia's tourism until such time as Namibia acknowledges the revenue seal-viewing currently generates for Namibia and until it seeks to appreciate and protect its seal resource from cruelty. The public outcry that occurs worldwide whenever the images from this slaughtering of seals are publicized will not go away. The dedication of individuals committed to ending this barbaric practice will not go away. I trust you will judge your actions accordingly, and more importantly, with the best interests of your constituents in mind.
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