Namibia: Lawyers Request Moratorium On World’s Largest Seal Slaughter Following Ombudsman’s Findings

by Jul 11, 2012Conservation Threats, Seals

On the 15th July 2012, 20 Namibian men are preparing themselves to go into protected baby seal nurseries and attempt to find, and then separate 85 000 baby seals from their mothers and beat them to death for their soft pelts over the next 4,5 months. Later, a further 6 000 bull seals will be shot for their genitals.

With conservation and environmental protection written into the constitution of Namibia, and only a few such countries to do so, Seal Alert-SA questions why this slaughter of seals continues.

In 2011, the Namibian Ombudsman, John Walters accepted a complaint from Seal Alert-SA’s lawyers requesting Walters to apply for an immediate interdict to halt the slaughter, after alleging the seal slaughter is unlawful and cruel violating laws within Namibia and internationally, and that the slaughter was not sustainable. Walter’s responded that he did not have all the facts and needed time to investigate. The 2011 seal slaughter continued.

Following a Seal Conference in September, delay upon delay ensued in releasing his findings. Walter’s claimed the vital independent state of the seal populations in southern Africa, surveyed in December 2011, was needed to complete his findings.

A week before the annual seal slaughter was due to start at Namibia’s most popular tourist attraction, the seals on the beach at Cape Cross in 2011. The Ombudsman released his findings, a former Judge, Walter’s findings were although Cape fur seals and their raw seal products in Namibia are exported as a United Nations protected endangered seal species, to mostly Asian countries and Turkey, after being banned from import into the US and EU. Under Namibian law seals, are not protected or classified as an animal under Animal Protection laws in Namibia, and therefore the seal clubbers and authorities who permit the cruel slaughter are not unlawful.

Walter’s was unable to determine whether or not Namibia is ‘guilty’ of over-utilizing or causing a decline in the seal population, following several requests for the Minister of Fisheries to supply promised latest seal population numbers.

Yesterday, Seal Alert’s attorney’s responded stating Walter’s had failed his mandate to investigate several of the aspects of the Seal Alert complaint. That in not obtaining the seal population numbers, that the seal slaughter cannot be lawful, and requested an immediate moratorium or interdict to halt the slaughter. Failure to do so, after removing all protection in legislation protecting this endangered seal species in Namibia since 2000, would violate Namibia’s international obligation to the Convention In Trade of Endangered Species (CITES). Adding further, the assumption that clubbing several hundred baby seals is similar to hunting single independent seal’s from their mothers is incorrect. Canada, US, EU and Russia used in support of the Ombudsman’s findings banned the hunting of baby seals dependent on their mothers in the mid-1980s.

Namibia, now responsible for the largest marine mammal slaughter on earth, is the only country in the southern hemisphere still commercially slaughtering seals.

By late yesterday, the Namibian Ombudsman, John Walters had not responded.

For more information, please visit:

Seal Alert-SA:

The Seals of Nam: