International Bid to Halt Seal Cull Gains Momentum
1 July 2009
ACTIONS to stop the clubbing of 85 000 baby seals in Namibia, which is supposed to kick off today, are gaining momentum.
International appeals and online petitions published on websites since the weekend are finding increasing support, with over 3 200 signatures by late yesterday.
South African NGO Seal Alert, led by Francois Hugo, is calling for US$15 per individual from around the world to raise US$14,2 million (about N$114 million) to buy out the last remaining international company that might buy pelts from this year's harvest.
"Pledges are already coming in and I reached an agreement with Australian-based company owner Hatem Yavuz who offered to me to buy his business," Hugo told The Namibian.
"We agreed that the employees of those two Namibian companies, in which he has a stake and who would do the clubbing of the seal pups and shoot the quota of 6 000 bulls, would delay the 'harvesting' for two weeks to give us a chance to raise the funds," Hugo added.
Still, an official in the Fisheries Ministry told The Namibian on Monday that the culling season would definitely start today.
Attempts to obtain comment from a seal-harvesting company at Henties Bay, Sea Lion Products, proved futile. Only an answering machine responded.
Seal Alert has set up an online petition on the popular Internet social networking site FaceBook, which had garnered about 3 210 signatures by yesterday afternoon.
Hugo also uploaded a short video on the Namibian seal hunt on another popular channel, You Tube, while an Australian animal rights group, Animals Australia, has a draft letter on its website directed at Hatem Yavuz, asking it to stop promoting the seal killings.
"Since Canada lost its seal trade in Europe because of the EU's seal trade ban, Namibia has now become the largest seal hunter in the world, claiming notoriety as the world seal pups killer," the online letter says.
"Whether you like it or not, you (Yavuz) as the primary buyer are directly responsible for the continuation of the brutal killings of seal pups. Apart from the inhumane aspects of the brutal killings, the annual seal cull lasts for 139 days in Namibia, and it immensely disturbs the seal breeding behaviour in the colonies this in turn destroys the seal viewing ecotourism," the letter, which can be signed online, states.
"You are currently receiving a lot of bad publicity, and it will not go away until you have reconsidered and pulled yourself out of such a bloody and cruel business. You are a very intelligent and ingenious man, and certainly can find other sources to continue acquiring wealth "
The European Union slapped a ban on imports of seal products in early May. One of its member states is Turkey, where Yavuz has a plant manufacturing jackets from Namibian seal pelts.
Article at: http://allafrica.com/stories/200907060853.html