|Supporting the Seal Cull|
|Written by Oswald Rall Theart|
|Wednesday, 13 June 2012 22:12|
Our Namibian Honorary Consul to Turkey, Hatem Yavuz’s father became involved in our seal industry from 1975 and after the seal industry collapsed shortly after Independence when a big fight ensued between local fishing industries and sealers about the right to harvest seals. Despite this problematic scenario the younger Yavuz, who completed a degree in International law in Australia, realised that a market could be created for our local seal products. With his large personal investment into all the sealing companies of Namibia, he built an industry from scratch. During the years that followed he developed a product which is now an asset in worldwide demand.
Yavuz is today recognized as the number one furrier in the world and has in the meantime increased his trading capacity to 85% of the world fur market. This is surely an indication of a very successful man and hence one can understand why he is criticised by activists. Unknown to many, is that he painstakingly worked and discovered a manner to alter the genetics of the seal skin, so that he now can produce skins which appear like skins of our wild cat family, such as leopard, tiger, jaguar etc. Mr. Yavuz who is also a hunter, has developed a great sense of respect for these cats and he does not trade in cat skins at all. He also specifically designed these skins to prevent further trade on the world markets in these species. He should be applauded for his conservation actions in this regard. Activists claimed that Yavuz is in a position to increase the total allowable catch to 1 million per year. This is ludicrous and it does not even make sense, as any reasonable person will know that our seal pup population growth is far below that quantity. Yavuz has also indicated to NSC that he only holds a contract with the permit holders who have concessions to harvest seals. Yavuz told NSC that as a businessman of repute, he would not have become involved with the Namibian seals if it was illegal, against the wishes of international treaties, such as CITES, or any other measure or legislation. Being involved in the worldwide trade of seals and other skins he further claimed that our cull is the most humane currently practiced. Yavuz is known as the “King of seals”, and his slogans are: “Skins are our business” and “Natural wild raw skins.”, despite being honest about his business, these slogans are now utilised against him by these activists to vilify and demonise him as an seal killer. Placing animals on par with the human species is the logic of animal rights activists. Since discovering Namibia, Yavuz fell in love with its friendly people and its awesome fauna and flora. As a staunch supporter of Namibia and its people, he decided to take upon his own shoulder the responsibility of promoting our country in Turkey as a tourist destination. This stands in stark contrast to the activists who discourage tourists from coming to Namibia. He has stirred the interest of hundreds of Turkish citizen to visit our country and he is currently in the process of negotiations with Turkish Air, the third largest passenger carrying company in Europe, to consider a scheduled flight between the two countries. NSC can for this reason understand why the Namibian government afforded him a honorary consul status. Activists are trying to discredit Yavuz due to alleged infidelity. This proves that these activists do not respect the privacy of their opponents and frequently misconstrue personal facts to score a point. The fact of this matter is that the alleged scandal of infidelity does not involve Yavuz, nor does it have anything, even remotely, to do with our government’s right to determine the best use of our resources. Yavuz confirmed to NSC that despite the activist’s slander against him, demand for our seal products has increased tremendously. He further stated that these activists rely on donations to survive and it is in their financial interest to create hype and scandal while the actual ban of the seal hunt would ruin them. While they protest against him they are not shy about using the Yavuz name to plead their case for more money. NSC believes that nobody deserves to be treated in the way that Yavuz has been slandered. People like Yavuz should be treated as an asset in our country and NSC supports government’s decision to afford credit where it is due and to be transparent about such deeds. NSC also wants to urge Yavuz to come up with some inventive ways in order for more Namibians to benefit more from their own resources, perhaps some of those valuable skills could be passed on to Namibians as a sign of our symbiotic relationship.