Mister Marthinus van Schalkwyk
Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism
Tel: +27 -21 465-7240 Fax: +27 -21 465-3216

Den Haag, 5 August 2005

Dear Mr. Van Schalkwyk,

Action Against Poisoning has been informed on the destructive South African seal policy. Destructive as seals are deliberately driven from their original habitats to unsafe coastal territories, where they are preyed upon by unnatural animal and human enemies. It is also apparent that seal killing is encouraged and financially rewarded under the scientific pretext of seal tag collection. All efforts to gain physical and legal protection, and even rescue of the seals, is constantly blocked by government officials.

The nature and development of this seal policy shows that we are not looking at an incident of ignorance or stupidity but at an intentional and well planned extermination of probably one of the most harmless species that is denied the right to feed itself and care for its young. Seals have no protection at all, as animal cruelty and random killing are not punished, but supported and rewarded. As it appears, current South African seal policies reflect an alarming disrespect for nature in general and seals in particular.
This way South Africa forfeits its commercialized and ethical position of "wild life protector".

Facing massive violation of animal protection legislation - if not by the letter, then by the spirit of such laws - we are saddened and disappointed to have to reassess South African standards of animal protection.
We consider respect for nature, animals and people as part of the basic values in the fabric of society. We stress our point that those values are not restricted to social or economic human interests.

We also bring to your attention that animal cruelty invites violence towards people. Consequently animal cruelty is a mental health threat and a public order risk. In short, where authorities fail to support and protect basic values, societies face a problem.
For those reasons we call on you to restore the disrupted balance in these values:
- for the seals in their original habitat,
- in human attitudes and behaviour,
- in relevant legislation and law enforcement.

We will wait for your answer.

With kind regards,

Den Haag - The Netherlands

Action Against Poisoning