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Profitable but stinky business

A visit to "Cape Cross" is one of the highlights of a trip to Namibia, the amazing sight of hundreds of (southern) sea bears lying on the beach, nursing females, dying cubs when their cubs go down to the sea

The sea bear colony at Cape Cross in Namibia. Photo from the tourist recommendations site TRIP ADVISOR
The sea bear colony at Cape Cross in Namibia. Photo from the tourist recommendations site TRIP ADVISOR

A visit to "Cape Cross" is one of the highlights of a trip to Namibia, the amazing sight of hundreds of (southern) sea bears lying on the beach, females nursing, cubs dying when their cubs go down to the sea, the growls of the males protecting their territory, predation by seagulls and jackals that come and try to collect pups Sometimes together with the newborns, when the "show" takes place right at the feet of the scouts, a few meters away, it is difficult to leave the place, luckily for the scouts, most days the wind blows from the west, but when the wind turns... the stench increases even on the more enthusiastic spectators, as Dobi- Seas are not animals that take care of grooming, calving, nursing, beating and "releasing" secretions... everything is done in the same place, when you add the smell of fish carcasses (the food of sea bears) you get a stench that is hard to resist, but I got to visit a smelly place more Furthermore, on July 13th the "thinning" /hunting season of the sea bears begins in Namibia, in honor of the opening of the season I was taken on a special visit to the factory where the hunted sea bears are processed and it can be understood that when you add to all the "fragrances" described above the processes The slaughter, the stripping of the skin and the collection of the various products.... Only gas masks allow the visit.
The description is not an attempt to advertise for or against the hunter, but rather a prelude to the debate that takes place between the sea bear hunters in Namibia, and various bodies that claim animal protection and "humane" hunting. And an argument because the location of the factory is secret and far from any settlement or main road.

The workers at the factory have gotten used to the stench, most of the work is done in a large hall where: they butcher, strip the hides, scrape the hides of fat and hair, collect the fat, find out the various parts of the face and cook them together with the meat, the floor of the hall is muddy and slippery which adds to the horrible feeling, although The stench The factory produces almost no waste as all parts of the animal have a use: fat rich in omega 3 which is exported to many countries in the world, fat of poor quality is used as an additive and fixative in the food industry, the bones, most parts of the face and meat are used to prepare food for pets as well as to feed farm animals - poultry, Cows, pigs, fish and others, there are also internal parts and meat that are sold in the local food market... as a delicacy (?), the main consumers of the skins are... the clothing factories in... Turkey. (Here is the link to the Israeli market?) In other words, unlike the fur hunters in the north (below), here all parts of the animal are used!

The vigilant debate regarding the entire process, starting with the hunter and ending with the finished products, sometimes slips into violent lines, therefore the location of the factory is "secret". The opponents of hunting are various organizations that claim a lack of "humanity" in the hunting itself, as well as environmental organizations that claim damage to the natural environment and the food chain in nature where the bears are an important link because they are... fishermen!
This is precisely where the economic argument comes in, since one of the most important branches of the economy and exports in Namibia is fishing, the fishermen claim that because of the protection given to sea bears, their population has grown to unnatural proportions, to the point that they eat a large part of the fish that were supposed to end up in the fishermen's nets, in a simple calculation: more bears = Less fish, which means the protection given to the bears has severely damaged the livelihood of Namibian fishermen! Therefore, every season there is a need to "thin out" the bear population. On the other hand, the ecologists and environmental organizations claim that the population "explosion" following the protection given to the bears will cause many individuals to die of starvation until an equilibrium is created... except that industrial fishing is not a natural factor and is therefore not part of that equilibrium, therefore, in order to reach a balance between the three factors - the bears, the fishermen and the fish, and in order to allow the fishing industry to exist and at the same time a healthy population of bears, is it perhaps correct to continue with a controlled "thinning" of the bear population?

There is a difference between ecological organizations and organizations that advocate "humanity", meaning that they claim that hunting is "cruel", to the claim of cruelty the hunters reply that there is a big difference between their method of killing and the method used by the hunters in the north - in Canada, Alaska and Scandinavian countries, since the latter are only interested in With the white fur, therefore only young individuals are hunted, since "it is forbidden to cause damage to the fur. The hunting is carried out by a blow (not too strong) to the head of the puppy, the stunned puppies are dragged by a special hook, their fur is removed and the hundreds of carcasses are left in the field! By all accounts a cruel and not "humane" method, while the Namibian hunters hit the animal with one precise blow on the head, according to them the blow runs through the animal's skull and causes immediate death, one of the hunters described the blow as "turning the brain into liquid pulp". In order to drain the blood of the hunted and also to "ensure a kill" immediately after the blow, the hunters stab a long knife straight into the heart, according to the Namibian hunters: "The Animal Welfare Organization in Namibia (SPAC) agrees to the method as well as the global fishing regulations".

Will readers judge the difference?

And again, the hunters backed by the Ministry of Agriculture, the Namibian Nature Conservation Authority and of course the fishermen claim that "the hunting/thinning is necessary to maintain a healthy sea bear population, a claim that is based on scientific research data" therefore they should compare the bear hunting in Namibia to the cruel slaughter in the north.

After seeing (as a nature-loving tourist) the amazing sight of thousands of sea bears in the "Cross Bay" on one of the more remote beaches in Namibia, after seeing (as an ecologist) the process of exploiting the special natural resource, I established a position and opinion for myself that I shared with my host, my position is well established On man's natural place (in the distant past) in the natural environment, man is "omnivorous", which places him between the carnivores and carrion eaters and the herbivores who gather grass and fruits.

But the technological development has brought man to the level of a universal super-predator above the super-predators in nature. I have already written before that the adaptation of human instincts lags behind technology by about a hundred thousand years, the role of instincts is fulfilled by "culture" with the help of a series of regulations and laws that form the basis of behavior in the environment, regulations and laws that arise as a result of the need to continue to exist in a technological world devoid of instinct, technology enables a wide variety of Considerations, as in other cases so also in the matter of the sea bear hunter, in addition to (pure) economic considerations, the long-term environmental considerations must also be considered, meaning the hunter must be sustainable and.... moral (?)

4 תגובות

  1. As far as I remember in the movie it was not about unproductive people, but simply about those who died anyway. The name of the film Soilent Green, or in the wrong translation according to which the film was distributed in Israel - "Green Sun".

  2. Ami Bachar, the idea is not original. We will make a film on the subject, unfortunately I don't remember the name.
    The idea was that unproductive people are recycled for the benefit of the productive ones.
    The debate was who was productive and who was not.
    Here we have a clear unproductive group, maybe we will use this idea accordingly.

  3. Controlled thinning of excessively large populations is a good thing, and of course if it is possible to derive additional benefit from it, that is excellent. It is a very positive thing to hear that the entire body of the animal has been used almost completely, because it is a resource that must be utilized (all of course if things are indeed done without a reasonable degree of cruelty to animals and indeed the population is excessively large).

    I think that one of the things that can be economical and positive from an environmental point of view is, for example, to establish a plant for grinding dead human flesh to feed animals! A person who agrees that his body will not be buried and after his death will be transferred to a meat grinder will be able to reduce the burial area and know that his body entered the bodies of animals. If the idea shocks someone, it's just a matter of habit. Some will be shocked by cremation and there are man-eating cannibals. As soon as it becomes the norm it becomes okay and it seems to me that it is not a bad solution to enter the carbon cycle in this way.

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