An End to Canned Hunting? 12-06-2009 Share
End of road for canned hunting
This follows a verdict in the Free State High Court in Bloemfontein on Thursday that these semi-tame animals may only be hunted 24 months after being set free from their breeding cages.
Judge Ian van der Merwe concurred with the government that biodiversity must be protected, and that the breeding of lions in captivity with the sole purpose of canned hunting, did not aid their protection.
The lion breeders’ request that the period of 24 months in the regulations be changed to “a few days”, was dismissed with costs.
Albi Modise, spokesperson for the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry, said the government welcomes the verdict.
“This means that the reprehensible practice of canned hunting has most certainly come to an end.”
Carel van Heerden, chairperson of the South African Predator Breeders Association, which took the government to court, said it was a tragic verdict.
“It feels like someone has kicked me in the stomach.
“The practical implications of the verdict are devastating to our industry and to all the people involved in the industry. It means that 5 000 breadwinners will soon lose their jobs, and about 3 000 (semi-tame) lions will have to be put down.”
The financial implications on members of the association, and the damage it will cause to the hunting and tourism industry in South Africa is incalculable, said Van Heerden.
“We operate a perfectly legal business and will continue to seek justice.”
According to Van Heerden, the association’s legal team will now study the verdict in its entirety, and then possibly apply for leave to appeal the verdict.
Apparently, some of the farmers on Thursday threatened to sue the government due to the loss of income they will suffer due to the legislation.
Multi-million rand industry
Van der Merwe said in his verdict that lion farmers, who are currently keeping a multi-million rand industry afloat, are just worried about money and the economic losses they will suffer if the semi-tame lions must first spend two years roaming free in nature before they can be hunted.
Marthinus van Schalkwyk, former minister of environmental affairs and tourism, was taken to court by lion breeders about two years ago, when he apparently wanted to “crush” their industry with regulations regarding threatened and protected species.
According to the regulations, a lion which has been bred in captivity, must be self-sustaining for 24 months (in other words, hunt for prey), before it can be hunted.
The lion breeders said in court papers that it would mean their downfall if the animals had to remain free for that long. They called the decision irrational.
Furthermore, Modise said that while hunting makes a substantial and
positive contribution to conservation management and the country’s
economy, the government also needs to protect a valuable resource
and ensure that the industry has a sustainable future.
The TOPS regulations do NOT actually ban canned hunting.
A captive bred, hand reared lion may still be shot by a blood thirsty hunter, but only after it is given a brief taste (24 months) of freedom in a large (undefined sized) area where it is expected to suddenly start fending for itself after being cared for by humans all of its life .
This will of course impact on the profitability of the industry and the whining from the canned lion breeders has more to do with the fact that they will be making considerably less money rather than the claim that their "industry" has been shut down.
The magistrate presiding over the case described some of the lion breeders claims as "contradictory" and "misleading" and the lion breeders are guilty of exactly that in this article.
The statement (by the lion breeders) that "about 3 000 (semi-tame) lions will have to be put down" is designed to be emotive, the lion breeders fail to tell the whole truth, the reality is that they (the lion breeders) bred these animals to kill them at a later stage anyway!
This ploy to gain public sympathy is ridiculous in the extreme, especially coming from people that breed lions for the express purpose of killing them in a variety of gruesome ways, such as shooting arrows into them, setting packs of dogs on them and blasting away at them with high powered rifles.
It is ironic that the lion breeders have supplied thousands of lions every year to be killed in canned hunts, yet now they suddenly express concern about lions having to be euthanased.
The sad reality is that even if there were only 300 lions needing homes right now, all the world’s sanctuaries would not be able to accommodate them. The truth is that there are just not that many sanctuaries and most are full to capacity. In any event, it is highly unlikely that the lion breeders would just give their lions away!
Since canned hunting was exposed more than ten years ago, many large local and overseas animal welfare organizations launched huge fundraising drives to "save lions from canned hunting". Many of these organizations which raised funds to "save lions from canned hunting" do not actually have facilities where they can provide sanctuary to rescued lions, many do not even operate in South Africa!
There will now probably be fallout in animal welfare circles over lions having to be euthanased, but surely everyone who campaigned against canned hunting realised that this day would come? It would be naïve to launch a campaign and not think about the end result. What did they think would happen if the campaign was successful?
What have they done with all the money they raised to “end canned hunting”?
Obviously they have not been using the money to prepare for this day; otherwise homes would be available for at least some of these lions.
There will probably now be a "feeding frenzy" of fundraising to "save lions from canned hunting" again and one should keep a close eye on whether donations translate into homes for lions or whether money raised just disappears into bulging coffers ... AGAIN!
We will of course do whatever we can to assist in providing lifetime homes to confiscated lions. Any fundraising that we do in this regard will be for specific lions and translate directly into a lifetime home for the lions in question.