(ISSUED ON TUESDAY 24 JULY 2007)
NAMIBIAN SEAL CULL
PROGRESS THROUGH NEGOTIATIONS APPROACH
Representing the National Council of SPCAs (NSPCA), Senior Inspector Celeste Houseman met with the Namibian Prime Minister Nahas Angula in Windhoek on 23 July 2003. Also present were Francois Hugo of Seal Alert, Dr Herbert Henrich of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Trust plus the Namibian Minister of Fisheries and the Permanent Secretary to Namibia.
The 40-minute meeting confirmed that the door was open regarding dialogue on the issue of the culling of the Namibian seals, which the NSPCA opposes on welfare grounds.
A way forward has been determined which includes an upcoming workshop.
The aim is to work in accordance with the Constitution of Namibia, to bring about a solution that would utilise humane methods of slaughter if – and this is emphasised – there is irrefutable scientific evidence that an imbalance in fish stocks is being brought about because of the rate of fish consumption by the seal population.
A meeting has been scheduled for 08 August with the Namibian Minister of Fisheries. Scientists and experts in the field will attend this meeting. The NSPCA will be officially notified of it and invited to attend.
The NSPCA is heartened by these developments. The willingness of the Namibian government – at absolute top level – to listen to our reasoning and to respond positively is the breakthrough we all hoped for. This is real progress and we are now a considerable way down the line and have reached this point through negotiation. A genuine solution, advantageous to all but most of all to the seal population of Namibia may not be too far away.
Appreciation is expressed to the government of Namibia for its willingness to hear the views of animal welfarists and for its current attitude of co-operation and resolve to seek a solution.