Cape seals are slaughtered on the Namibian coast annually as scapegoats for human overfishing practices and fisheries mismanagement. This is also one of Canada’s proclaimed justifications for the continuation of the harp seal slaughter, now generally recognized as cruel and unnecessary.
The men were not heard in court regarding their claim that they were assaulted violently by Namibian sealers prior to their arrest.
Sealing nations have a history of turning a blind eye to violence directed at those documenting their activities. In 2005, Sea Shepherd activists documenting the harp seal slaughter in international waters off the coast of Eastern Canada were assaulted by the sealers wielding clubs. Again in 2008, Sea Shepherd activists were seized at gunpoint and deported; ship’s officers Alex Cornelissen and Peter Hammarstedt were detained and later released on bail.
It is therefore not surprising that the Namibian government would side with the sealers and ignore the blatant injustice of physical violence used to oppose truth through the lens of a video camera.
Sea Shepherd commends Smithers and Wickens for their efforts to expose the Namibian seal slaughter.