MEDIA STATEMENT BY THE COALITION TO STOP CAPTIVE BREEDING AND KEEPING OF LIONS AND OTHER BIG CATS FOR COMMERCIAL PURPOSES (The Coalition)
30 October 2019
On the 17th May 2019, the former Minister Senzeni Zokwana of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries made an amendment to the Animal Improvement Act, 1998 (Act No. 62 of 1998) (AIA) to include 33 wild mammal species, commonly bred by wildlife ranchers, under Table 7 of these regulations.
The AIA is enacted “to provide for the breeding, identification and utilisation of genetically superior animals in order to improve the [food] production and performance of animals in the interest of the Republic”. The 33 species, including Black & White rhino, cheetah, giraffe, lion and 28 indigenous and non-indigenous game species, are in effect now treated in the same manner as livestock in so far as the recognition of breeders’ rights is concerned.
Under the AIA, the collection of semen, embryos and other genetic material, artificial insemination, as well as the import and export of such materials is permitted by licenced breeders. This enables breeders to create genetically manipulated animals, in addition to breeding rarities and colour variants.
This week, around 100 wildlife farmers gathered in Pretoria to establish eight interim species societies to regulate the 33 wildlife species listed under the AIA, as well as a Game Meat Value Chain Society to develop a roll-out plan for the game production value chain and increase consumer access to safe and healthy game meat products.
According to the Game Ranchers’ Forum (GRF) media statement, the inclusion of wildlife species under the AIA is welcomed by game ranchers, as they “will no longer have to negotiate with a department [Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries (DEFF)] that applies an arbitrary approach to environmental legislation and gives officials discretionary powers to issue a permit, or not”.