Captive-bred lion industry to be investigated by SA Parliament – You Are Invited

South Africa’s parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Environmental Affairs will be holding a two-day colloquium to review the unregulated captive-bred lion industry.

The colloquium, titled Captive Lion Breeding for Hunting in South Africa: Harming or Promoting the Conservation Image of the Country, will be open to the public and will take place on August 21 and 22.

The event will allow members to present arguments for and against the captive breeding of lions, and to facilitate constructive debate around the future of the industry in South Africa. After the discussions, a decision will be made by the committee as to whether the legislation needs to be reviewed and/or amended, or whether to initiate new legislation through parliament.

Recently, the EMS Foundation and Ban Animal Trading released a report, The Extinction Business: South Africa’s ‘Lion’ Bone Trade‚ that revealed startling and alarming factors that have a significant negative impact on worldwide big cat conservation.

The report suggested that the South African government’s strong support of the captive-bred lion industry – that has strong links with international criminal networks – fuels the demise of wild big cat populations by providing a legal channel for the trafficking of illegal big cat parts. It also questioned why the South African authorities seem to believe that this industry is a sustainable and ethical option. It highlighted that the CITES permitting and enforcement process has substantial loopholes and management shortcomings that enable illegal wildlife trafficking, along with poor management by the South African authorities.

In July, the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) announced a new lion bone export quota of 1,500 lion skeletons from captive-bred lions –  nearly double the number from last year’s quota of 800 lion skeletons.

Responding to the DEA’s announcement, the team behind the global documentary Blood Lions released this official statement:

‘Blood Lions condemns the recent announcement from DEA that the lion bone quota for export has been doubled to 1,500 carcasses. Unofficial reports in this regard had been circulating for months.

It would seem that the Minister has used a 2015 report, Bones of Contention, put out by Wildcru and the University of Witwatersrand as the basis of the decision. It is worth pointing out that the data in this report is now at least 4 to 5 years old, and that the circumstances around the captive breeding, hunting and export of bones has shifted somewhat. The bone trade may no longer simply be a convenient by-product of hunting, poaching of lions, both wild and captive is on the rise, and so is the demand for lion bones. And the DEA have missed one of the most important cautionary tones in this report: “the trade in tiger bones is an established threat to tiger conservation”. If this pertains to tigers, why would it not be the same for lions?

And Blood Lions is increasingly concerned at the way DEA continues to be involved in matters involving the captive lion breeding industry when they themselves claim their mandate to be solely about biodiversity conservation.’

Back to Media

The NSPCA has huge animal welfare concerns for the animals exploited in the captive predator and canned hunting industry in South Africa. This industry is unregulated, uncontrolled and is responsible for untold cruelty. It is a tragedy that our wild animals are reduced to profit making machines. Coupled with this members of public are unwittingly encouraging and supporting this cruelty, so it is vital that the public are aware of the truth behind the industry so they can make informed decisions and hopefully choose not to support such an unethical industry.

Sr.Ainsley Hay, Manager, NSPCA Wildlife Protection Unit

Breeding magnificent wild creatures like lions in camps so that they can be slaughtered for ego and money is unconscionable and should be outlawed.  Lions have the right to live in the wild and to continue playing their unique role within the ecological communities of Africa.  The continued existence of the canned hunting industry is a moral outrage that diminishes us all.  This important film shines a light into the dark corners of this ugly business.

Cormac Cullinan, Cullinan & Associates Incorporated

Cruel, barbaric, macabre – all words used by Australian MPs about lion farming and the canned lion hunting industry in SA.  Our campaign was glad to be able to assist and participate in a full length documentary that aims to expose a brutal industry whose whole business model is routine, egregious cruelty to helpless animals – for fun.

Chris Mercer, Founder, CACH (Campaign Against Canned Hunting)

Captive lions have long been a blemish on South Africa’s wildlife and tourism landscape and their tragic story needed to be exposed before these practices negatively impacted on Brand South Africa. Congratulations to all involved in taking the time and making this happen.

Colin Bell, Tourism consultant and author of “Africa’s Finest”

“As a travel and conservation based organization, we find the “Blood Lions” documentary deeply disturbing. Despite being hard to watch, we urge people to get out there and see it. It is important to shed light on the dark and corrupt business of rearing lions for the purposes of hunting, in hopes of making a positive change. As we polled our membership, we found that individually each of our companies have chosen to stop booking all activities that contribute to this industry.”

The Safari Professionals – 30 Tour Operators based in the US and Canada

South Africa’s failure to address the canned hunting industry has emboldened those who make a living out of the death of lions bred, raised and slaughtered on a ‘no kill, no fee’ basis. The canned hunting industry is unnatural, unethical and unacceptable. It delivers compromised animal welfare and zero education. It undermines conservation and creates a moral vacuum now inhabited by the greed and grotesque self-importance of those who derive pleasure in the taking of life.

Blood Lions lays bare the truth behind the canned hunting industry that, far from contributing to the future survival of the species, may, in fact, accelerate extinction in the wild, leaving behind a trail  littered with rotting corpses of its helpless and hopeless victims.

Will Travers OBE, President Born Free Foundation

The Marchig Animal Welfare Trust, in providing support for the making of this Documentary, does so in the firm belief that it is important that the true facts behind captive lion breeding and canned lion hunting in South Africa, is brought to the attention of a global audience in order to create awareness which in turn will lead to much needed change.

Les Ward MBE, Chairman, The Marchig Animal Welfare Trust

This is a timely, courageous as well as a deeply disturbing documentary. It is at the same time, a voice for the wild and the voiceless … of saying “NO MORE!” to that terrible triad of financial opportunism, deceit and indifference to the non-human animal by those claiming to be conservationists.

Ian McCallum – Author, poet, psychiatrist and naturalist

With the constant pressure on wildlife, every effort must be made to keep our last vestiges of natural fauna and flora protected.    Canned hunting of any kind, along with the related consequences, must be condemned by humanity as not only a travesty of nature but also an utterly inhumane practise.   Taming lion cubs only to later hunt them is an utterly inhumane practice.   It is pseudo-hunting, a complete sham and does not even qualify as hunting on a sustainable use basis.   Wildlife conservation has to evolve into practices that are ethical, humanitarian and sustainable. This will not be achieved if there is not real and fair community involvement which has not been part of the hunting fraternity’s evolution.

Yvette Taylor, Executive Director, The Lawrence Anthony Earth Organisation

“Canned lion ‘hunting’ is nothing less than a bargain basement opportunity for foreign hunters to engage in one of South Africa’s most sordid practices. Hunting of captive bred lions entirely dependent on human fingerprints from cub to trophy is immoral, unethical and against all animal welfare concerns. The fact that it still continues as profitable commerce is a damning statement against all of us who have not properly engaged to snuff it out. Blood Lions is a good start to bring change.”

Dr Pieter Kat – Director: LionAid

Canned Lion