In The Ecologist, writer Tafline Laylin discusses Namibia’s annual seal cull and the fierce debate between opponents who find the cull worse than cruel and the Namibian government. Each year tens of thousands of seals, mostly cubs but some adults, are killed for the global fur trade. The government defends the industry with its claims that the cull is necessary to prevent local fisheries from depletion. Critics of the practice and the pictures of the cull will remind you of the harp seal controversy in Canada during the 1980s. Meanwhile animal rights groups are calling for a boycott of Namibia tourism.

Here is what Laylin has to say:

Pro-sealers argue that the annual harvest is justified because seals compete with the fishing industry, which is the fastest growing sector of the Namibian economy. Adult Cape Fur seals eat approximately 270 kg of fish a year, including hake, sardines, and anchovies, but conservationists worry that culling seals without first conducting scientific studies could upset an already fragile and complicated ecosystem. South African fishermen used the same argument before the government banned sealing in 1990, but the restoration of large seal colonies has not had a detrimental impact on South Africa's fishing industry since.

Whatever your stance is on the seal trade and animal cruelty, one aspect is clear: Tafline Laylin brings a level of sensitivity and knowledge about countless sustainability issues and is well worth following. Read her work on Inhabitat as well as Green Prophet.

Photo courtesy Tafline Laylin.

About The Author

Leon Kaye

Leon Kaye is the founder and editor of Based in California, he specializes in social media consulting and strategic communications. A journalist and writer since 2009, his work has appeared on Triple Pundit , The Guardian's Sustainable Business site and has appeared on Inhabitat and Earth911. His focus is making the business case for sustainability and corporate social responsibility. Areas of interest include the <a Middle East, sustainable development in The Balkans, Brazil and Korea. He was a new media journalism fellow at the International Reporting Project, for which he covered child survival in India during February 2013. Contact him at You can also reach out via Twitter (Leon Kaye) and Instagram (GreenGoPost). Since 2013, he has spent much of his time in Abu Dhabi, UAE, working with Masdar, the emirate's renewable energy company. He lives in Fresno, California.