SA calls for all-out ban on canned lion breeding

Canned lion hunting and the subsequent captive lion breeding across South Africa, believed to fuel the notorious industry, has for a number of years been a blemish on Brand SA’s safari and wildlife appeal.

But the most recent development from the Parliamentary Colloquium tasked with addressing the issue could see an end to the industry all together.

In a report entitled “Captive Lion Breeding for Hunting in South Africa: Harming or Promoting the Conservation Image of the Country“, the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Environment Affairs has called for a ban on captive lion breeding.

The committee wants an audit of captive lion breeding farms across the country and for laws that legally allow the practice, as well as the export of lion bones, to be revised.

The colloquium was attended by Blood Lions together with a number of leading conservation groups and scientists from across the globe.

The report found that there was “zero conservation value” in captive lion breeding, and that it instead “undermines South Africa’s tourism brand value”. Added to that studies show there has “not been a successful lion reintroduction programme with lions bred in captivity in the South African case”.

It calls SA’s captive lion breeding industry for hunting is an “international pariah” call for a rethink on the DEA’s doubling of the lion bone expert quota from 800 in 2017 to 1500 for 2018, calling it “highly concerning”.

“Captive lion breeding for hunting is currently lawful, but this does not make it ethically, morally or socially acceptable, especially when the manner in which hunted animals are raised and released for hunting. It is obvious in this instance that hunting of captive-bred lions might have done irreparable damage to the reputation of South Africa, especially considering the negative global publicity,” the report states.

“The use of lion bones, body parts and derivatives in commercial trade, including for scientifically unproven medicine, is one of the major emerging threats to wild lion, besides habitat loss, diminishing prey and human wildlife conflict, and could serve as a cover for illegally wild-sourced lion and other big cat parts.”

Blood Lions issued a statement following the landmark call, commending Honourable Mohlopi Philemon Mapulane and members of the Portfolio Committee on Environment on the findings and resolutions of this comprehensive 24-page report.

“There is little doubt that the captive lion breeding industry has attracted extensive international criticism, and that it has had a deleterious impact on South Africa’s conservation and tourism reputation. This is an important day for Blood Lions and all those who have been fighting against the captive lion breeding industry in South Africa.”

The Blood Lions feature documentary film and global campaign to end all exploitative predator practices, launched in 2015 has been instrumental in raising awareness around the matter.

It will be hosting a special live segment on Facebook on 15 November 2018 at noon, to discuss the following key Proposed Resolutions summary as put forward in the report by The Portfolio Committee on Environmental Affairs –click here to join in.

1)    Department of Environmental Affairs to urgently initiate a policy and legislative review of the Captive Breeding of lions for hunting and the lion bone trade with a view to putting an end to this practice
2)    Department of Environmental Affairs to conduct an audit of the captive lion breeding facilities throughout the country, including those offering private lion and cheetah cub petting and/or walking activities
3)    Department of Environmental Affairs and Department of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries to present a clear programme of work on how they intend to address the badly neglected animal welfare and health issues which were raised during the colloquium
4)    The agreement between the Kruger National Park and Association of Private Nature Reserves (APNR) concluded in 1996, should be revised to ensure that there is sharing of benefits, arising from the collapse of the fences in the western boundary of the Kruger National Park in the interest of the broader society.
5)    The Department of Environmental Affairs should reconsider their decision earlier this year to increase the lion bone trade quota from 800 to 1 500 lion skeletons, as it was purportedly based on the Interim Report of the Scientific Authority, which report it emerged during the colloquium, was informed by commercial considerations, as opposed to science.

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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