SA told to end canned lion hunting

A motion to terminate the hunting and breeding of captive lions and other predators in South Africa has been approved by the IUCN World Conservation Congress currently underway in Hawaii.

The motion requests the prohibition of the hunting of captive-bred lions under any conditions and also states that breeding should only be allowed at “registered zoos or facilities that demonstrate a clear conservation benefit”.

Motion 009, requests that South Africa review existing legislation pertaining to the captive predator hunting and breeding industry and implement revised regulations by 2020.

The passing of this motion has come at a critical time as despite more than 20 years of campaigning by local and international activists and organizations to bring an end to these practices, the industry has shown steady growth over the last decade.

Currently there are more than 180 facilities holding approximately 7 000 predators used for a variety of commercial purposes, including captive or ‘canned’ hunts.

“We’re looking forward to working with the IUCN and Department of Environmental Affairs to implement the resolutions, which will have a significant impact,” says Wildlands CEO Andrew Venter.

“There must be good reason for the IUCN to have passed this motion. It does not do our country or tourism any good to be seen as a zoo country breeding wildlife in captivity which has no conservation value,” says Stan Burger, President of the Professional Hunters Association of South Africa (PHASA) who announced their opposition to the industry in a statement late last year.

Although basic legislation is in place to regulate the captive keeping and hunting of lions in South Africa, IUCN members have acknowledged that the SA government has had limited legal scope available to terminate “canned” hunting altogether and are hoping the guidelines set out in the motion will assist them to revise legislation.

“The Department (of Environmental Affairs) will consider the implications associated with the motion; engage the relevant IUCN members and then take appropriate actions, guided by its legal mandate,” says Albi Modise, chief director of communications for the Department of Environmental Affairs(DEA) adding: “As you know, these motions or resolutions adopted by the IUCN are not legally binding and therefore compliance with the resolution cannot be enforced.”

Nevertheless as part of its plan to implement the requirements stated in the motion the Department says that the Environmental Management Inspectorate has prioritised strengthening compliance monitoring and enforcement relating to captive breeding facilities as well as enforcing TOPS (Threatened or Protected Species) regulations which prohibits hunting lions in a controlled environment.

But the Department has made it clear that while legislation will be revised and regulated the adoption of this motion does not necessarily mean that facilities will be shut down.

Adding to further implementation, amendments to TOPS Regulations will be published early next year which are expected to include prohibiting the introduction of wild lion to captive breeding facilities and the captive breeding of lion if no conservation benefit can be demonstrated.

The Department also says it will prioritise research to determine whether there is any conservation value in breeding lions in captivity. Further recommendations were the development of norms and standards for the welfare and management of captive-bred lions which will be tabled by the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.

While the passing of this motion is significant, it is only the first step of what could still be a tricky process. “We’ve been down this road once before in South Africa and the attempts came to nothing. We cannot allow government, the breeders and the hunters to again play with the nuances of words and space that will result in failure.

The world is now watching.” says Ian Michler, Blood Lions Consultant.

Story via Conservation Action Trust

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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