International Anti-Sealing Day on March 15 will mark a ‘torturous’ day for Namibia’s exports and tourism if the country does not stop its annual seal cull, activists claim.
A South African animal rights group called Fur Free, which is affiliated to the global International Anti-Fur Coalition, will launch an intensive campaign on the day to urge a boycott of Namibian exports and tourism.
Anneke Brits, chairperson of Fur Free South Africa, said until the annual seal clubbing in Namibia is permanently ended, Fur Free and its worldwide partners will be aiming boycott campaigns at Namibian export products and all tourism to Namibia.
She said the campaign would start with tourism, as this would have the biggest impact on the country.
She said hundreds of organisations worldwide are going to stage protests against the sealing industries of Canada and Namibia.
She said protests would take place at Namibian embassies around the world.
“We tried time and again to get some positive feedback from your government. There are no other pressure groups in Namibia, and not once did the Namibian Government even try and come back to us with a positive response. Now, we have to intensify measures,” said Brits.
In Johannesburg and Cape Town, Fur Free and its partners, with the support of South African celebrities, will add their voices to the campaign.
“We have a database of over 20 000 supporters, and we will start the boycott campaign by encouraging all tourism agencies in South Africa to demote Namibia as a holiday or tourist destination until the clubbing stops. Anyone interested in going to Namibia will be advised about the facts regarding the seal cull and discouraged to go there,” she said.
Thousands of tourists come to Namibia from South Africa annually.
“We would like to stress that we love our sister country Namibia, and that it pains us to take any adverse action against it. We hope and pray that you, the leaders of Namibia, will see the folly of the seal massacre, and will take definite and immediate steps to end it,” said Brits.
The organisation says Namibia’s annual mass clubbing of seals – 86 000 last year – “happens nowhere else on earth, and is the largest slaughter of wildlife in Africa”.
The organization is advocating the promotion of community-based, sustainable seal-viewing eco-tourism, which they allege “already yields ten times the revenue generated by the sealing industry”.
“We look forward to the day when we will be able to inform the many thousands of supporters on our database that the annual massacre has been ended, and that our boycott action can also be brought to an end,” said Brits.