IFAW Condemns Cruel and Unnecessary Namibia Seal Cull

Monday, 17 July, 2006
Cape Town, South Africa
IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare – www.ifaw.org) has condemned Namibia’s annual seal cull which began this month as cruel and unnecessary.
“It is high time Namibia stopped culling Cape Fur seals,” said Jason Bell-Leask, IFAW Director Southern Africa.
The Namibian Government justifies its annual seal hunt by claiming that the seal population poses a threat to the local fishing industry. However, scientific studies, notably those from Canada, show that over-fishing is most responsible for the demise of fish stocks, not predation by seals.
The numbers of seals to be culled in Namibia has been increased this year from 5 000 bulls and 65 000 pups in the 2005 season, to 6 000 bulls and 85 000 pups between July and November 2006.
The cull has prompted widespread outrage and protest from animal welfare and conservation organisations as well as animal lovers worldwide.
“The Namibian seal cull is unnecessary and unjustified. The Namibian Government has not a shred of plausible scientific evidence to show that its seal populations are impacting on their fish stocks. Further the methods used to kill the seals are unacceptably cruel and in IFAW’s opinion pays no attention to animal welfare concerns. IFAW urges the Namibian Government to immediately draw a halt to seal culling,” said Bell-Leask.
“All parties disturbed by this appalling slaughter need to work in unison to bring as much pressure to bear as possible on the Namibian Government to stop this annual seal hunt. The world’s most influential animal welfare groups are the public voice of millions of concerned citizens worldwide, who are sickened by this cruel slaughter. The Government of Namibia should not be allowed to ignore that voice.”
IFAW has commissioned an independent scientific study which is researching the current status of Southern African Cape Fur Seal populations. The research is intended to show to what extent seal populations are being harmed by threats including that of the fishing industry.

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