Lion hunting ban sparks clash

JOHANNESBURG: The Professional Hunters’ Association of SA (Phasa) has lashed out at the SA Predator Association (Sapa) for “refusing to join” the worldwide movement to can captive-bred hunting.

Phasa president Stan Burger said yesterday while many of the association’s international peer organisations had expressed relief that his organisation had distanced itself from captive-bred hunting – a practice regarded as embarrassing by many hunters – there were still other unresolved issues.

Amid growing support for Phasa’s stance against captive-bred lion hunting, Sapa, which represents the lion breeding and hunting industry, is yet to join the worldwide move to reform the industry

Phasa said Sapa was trying to preserve its captive-bred hunting component.

“Phasa tried to work with Sapa for a number of years in an attempt to introduce generally accepted standards for lion breeding and hunting, and it was only when it became clear that this attempt would continue to fail in the face of Sapa’s persistent recalcitrance that we dissociated ourselves from them,” said Burger.

He said Sapa claimed that Phasa had “buckled before (an) onslaught of uninformed social activists”.

“Nothing could be further from the truth,” said Burger, whose association was guided by a number of major industry roleplayers in arriving at this carefully considered decision.

They are all of the opinion that captive-bred lion hunting is “ethically repugnant” and poses a real threat to the future of the entire trophy hunting industry.

In a recent statement posted on the Blood Lions website, Sapa said: “The hunting of ranch lions in South Africa is open and will continue as usual in the 2016 hunting season.”

Sapa said it realised the entire hunting industry was under severe pressure and that it would stay under pressure for as long as the perceptions of the public were exploited and manipulated by the animal rights organisations.

“Winning the hearts and the minds of the people for hunting as a legitimate and ecologically responsible human activity is a battle all hunters and conservation-minded people must be prepared to fight together.

“Sapa has and will continue to stand up against these ongoing onslaughts on hunting.”

Sapa said it firmly believed in the integrity and sustainability of the ranch lion industry in South Africa. “Lion hunting is legal and constitutes an important sector of the trophy hunting industry in South Africa.”

But Burger countered the claim that Sapa was seriously committed to the conservation of lions in the wild. “Sapa describes captive-bred lion hunting as ‘an important node of resistance against the opponents of all forms of hunting’. In Phasa’s view, this practice is the industry’s Achilles heel.

“We therefore hope that Sapa will come to realise that the long-term sustainability of the industry is more important than the short-term profits of its members.”

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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