Cape Town - Dressed in black funeral attire and carrying a small, handmade coffin, a group of about 20 people took to the streets of central Cape Town to protest against the annual Namibian seal harvest, which takes place in July.

The harvest, which is legal in Namibia, will see thousands of baby and adult seals killed between July 1 and November 31.

Namibian authorities have stated that the large seal population poses a threat to other marine life.

The procession, organised by Beauty Without Cruelty, marched down St George’s Mall yesterday, bearing posters and urging bystanders to boycott Namibian products such as “beer and diamonds”.

Beauty Without Cruelty spokeswoman Toni Brokhoven said they wanted people “to stop supporting Namibia in any way, shape or form”.

She said Namibia could make far more income through eco-tourism than through the annual seal harvest.

According to the organisation, seal pelts are sold for around $7 each, while the penises of male bulls are sold as an aphrodisiac.

Nicky Botha, of Fur Free SA, said she had been campaigning against the killings since 2006. “There is no place in this day and age for this kind of barbaric act,” she said.

A report released this week by Namibia’s ombudsman John Walters found that while some changes could be made to the way the seal harvest was conducted, it was essentially legally “well anchored”.

“Gruesome as it may sound, the stunning and sticking method used for killing pups is the most practical and the only one applicable to the harvest in Namibia,” Walters said in his report.

Weekend Argus