Anti-seal crowd must have work permits
During September 2011 various animal rights organisations held a meeting with the Namibian Ombudsman during which they complained that the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources (MFMR) is harvesting seals not only in an inhumane manner but also illegally according to local, and international laws and treaties. They also claimed that the harvest was not sustainable.
During this period the Ombudsman offered to investigate the matter but warned the participants that this report would take time to prepare and that the sustainability aspect will depend on population statistics still to be released by the Benguela Current Commission (BCC).
The Ombudsman went to great length in studying this issue and during his investigation, he on invitation, paid a visit to the seal rehabilitation centre operated by Francois Hugo in Hout Bay, South Africa. Originally Hugo and other activists propagated that the Ombudsman is a fair man to be trusted and claimed that they will accept his report as final. As the promised date of the report expired these animal rights activists started putting pressure on the Ombudsman to release his report. Despite his diplomatic approach and patience, the activists in a very confrontational manner made known their impatience with the Ombudsman’s delay. At some stage one of these activist openly advertised that he will not accept government statistics as he believes it to be biased.
Knowing their modus operandi it came as no surprise to the public forum, Namibia Seal Conservation (NSC) that these activists raved and ranted when the Ombudsman eventually released his report. As predicted by NSC the fact of the investigation is that the Ombudsman found in favour of the legality and method of the harvest. In the absence of said statistics the Ombudsman indicated that due to the abundance of the seals, the sustainability seems to be obvious but that this should yet be proven by statistics.
Typically these activists now ridicule Adv. Walters by calling his report “drivel” and alleging that his report reads like “a bad novella with an illogical subplot”, that it contains “legal jargon and contradictory rhetoric”, that it is “flimsy, filled with contradictions and errors, trying to worm its way into insanity, badly researched, incomplete and inconclusive”. The same activist who claimed that he will not accept government statistics now accuses the Ombudsman of not considering critical statistics concerning the seal population.
Obviously not known to this activist, is that although the [fishing ministry] is the responsible institution they depend on the BCC to compile these statistics. This same activist now falsely accuses the minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Hon. Esau of refusing to make known the statistics and deliberately hiding the statistics of the seal population. He further has the audacity to accuse the minister of political interference with the independence and integrity of the Ombudsman. How much false accusations and degrading abuses must we as Namibians still suffer from these pathetic activists?
The activists propagate international tourism boycotts against Namibia yet they in contradiction to their own policies permit themselves to enter Namibia freely. ‘The Seals of Nam and “Seal Alert” are not registered charity organisations, they are currently asking for donations but do not make it clear to their prospective donors that they would be donating to a private individual. Pat Dickens has even posted his bank account information asking for donations to cover his costs where he and others are currently camping at Cape Cross while effecting their so-called “Beach Masters (BM)” programme. These BMs allege that although they are operating incognito, their actions are legal. These activists are actively involved in photographing and counting seals at Cape Cross and on their pages even report their monitoring of the Namibian Police in Swakopmund and Hentiesbay.
This is clearly not the way tourist would act when on holiday, rather they appear like undercover agents spying on our country. What right do these activists have to actively meddle in our internal affairs? NSC believes that these activists with obvious deceptive motives are working in Namibia without valid work permits. The BM’s have plans to be at all three harvesting sites and such sites need to be guarded carefully. The NSC therefore urges government to urgently investigate the matter and if found in contravention of any act, to arrest and prosecute these activists.