Sealies take one on the chin
The public forum Namibia Seal Conservation (NSC) has noted that some of the seal activists who during the past year held a seal conference with the Ombudsman, and who used a variety of deceptive strategies in their attempts to force government to call a moratorium on our legal, humane and sustainable seal harvest, have ran into legal trouble.
The father of animal right activism, self-declared Captain Paul Watson, from Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (SSCS) whose organisation is behind the activities against our country, has fled Germany while awaiting extradition charges to Costa Rica. This eco-terrorist who acted as sponsor and adviser to the group of anti-sealers faces charges of attempted shipwrecking on the high seas in 2002, off the Guatemalan coast with shark fin poachers. If found guilty he can receive a jail sentence of up to 15 years.
Pat Dickens was recently refused permission by immigration officials to enter Namibia to carry out his so-called covert Beach Masters programme. He was further warned that any future attempt to enter our country might lead to a jail term or a severe penalty if found guilty. Ask by his supporters about the way forward, he stated that he would now take the matter to the EU. I wonder what he wants to achieve with the EU as they have already declared a ban on the import of all seal products.
Both Dickens, and Francois Hugo are facing investigation after it has been discovered that neither they nor their organisations are registered as non- profit organisations. Hugo’s latest attempt is to negotiate a compromise with government. He arrogantly wants to give government the permission to harvest seals but only those that are dead. In return he wants a moratorium on the harvesting of live seals [and he wants permission] to establish a seal rehabilitation center in Namibia, similar to the illegal one he is operating in South Africa.
Does he not know that the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, (the Directorate of Nature Conservation) is responsible for the welfare of our seals? On receiving complaints about entangled and injured seals, officials from this directorate handle this matter, and as such we do not need a seal rehabilitation centre were seals are exposed to domestication as is the case with Hugo’s illegal centre.
The NSC’s sound advice to these activists is to change their strategy and replace it with more positive actions: Register your organisations as animal welfare and not animal rights organisations, and stick to the goals of such organisations. Apologise to the Namibian Government and its citizens for calling them fools, morons and a backward country. Publicly accept that our harvest is legal, humane (unless more humane methods can be provided by them) and obviously sustainable due to abundance of seals along our coast. Offer to help save our penguins which are currently decimated by seal predation. NSC believes that if this strategy is not followed immediately, there is no further chance for any form of dialogue with our government in the future.
Oswald Rall Theart
on behalf of Namibia Seal Conservation