Dawsons represents NSPCA and WSPA at Seal Harvest Stake Holders meeting in Windhoek

On the 20th of September 2011 Peter Edwards of our firm acting on behalf of the National Council of SPCA’s of South Africa, the World Society for the Protection of Animals and Seal Alert SA attended a stakeholders meeting called by the Constitutional Ombudsman of Namibia relating to Namibia’s controversial seal harvest. The meeting was called pursuant to our firm (on behalf of its clients) submitting a formal complaint to the Ombudsman to investigate various aspects of the harvest. The Ombudsman has now commenced an investigation and the stakeholders meeting forms part of such investigation.

The main thrust of the arguments presented related to whether or not the harvesting regulations were sufficient for the humane killing of the seals and whether or not these regulations were in fact being properly implemented by the sealers and the rights holders. Submissions based on video footage were that the regulations were not being complied with and were in any event inadequate in light of international standards of humane killing of animals. This in turn lead to breaches of the Namibian Animal Protection Act – the same legislation applicable in South Africa.

Internationally there are bans on the import of seal products into the United States of America and now recently into the European Union. The main reason for the bans is the inhumane and cruel manner in which the seals are slaughtered which has been confirmed by scientific studies.

The Ombudsman is now in possession of voluminous presentations and scientific papers which he has undertaken to review as part of his investigation. The results of his findings will be of interest particularly in light of the fact that South Africa after a commission of enquiry in the 1990’s have since stopped the harvesting of seals.

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