SA tourism body calls for ban on captive lion breeding
African News Agency (ANA); Editing by Naomi Mackay
8th December 2020

Conservation and animal welfare organisations, Humane Society International-Africa (HSI-Africa) and Blood Lions on Monday called for a ban of South Africa’s captive lion breeding industry and its associated spin-off industries.

This decision was backed by other non-governmental organisations (NGOs), scientists and the Southern Africa Tourism Services Association (SATSA).

Comprehensive submissions on captive lion breeding were presented to the department of environment, forestry and fisheries, to review existing policies, legislation and practices in the management and handling, breeding, hunting and trade of elephant, lion, leopard and rhinoceros.

South Africa has about 400 facilities with approximately 10 000 – 12 000 lions in captivity for commercial use in cub petting, canned hunting and the lion bone trade.

HSI-Africa wildlife director, Audrey Delsink said that the lions were bred with the intention of slaughter, one way or another, whether for their bones or as hunted trophies.

“In addition to the global opposition to trophy hunting, the cruelty of ‘canned hunting’ is making South Africa a pariah in conservation and animal welfare and protection communities,” Delsink said.

In their letter, 41 international and national animal welfare NGOs noted that the captive lion breeding industry lacks regulations, enforcement controls and standards.

The NGO letter also raised a crucial point relating to pandemics: “The current Covid-19 pandemic causing global chaos with its credible link to wildlife utilisation should be raising concerns about the zoonotic risks, including tuberculosis, associated with the unregulated, inadequately monitored intensive breeding, slaughter and utilisation of lions,” the letter stated.

Zoonotic diseases are infectious, they are caused by a pathogen that has jumped from an animal to a human.

A recent study by Blood Lions and World Animal Protection identified 63 pathogens recorded in both wild and captive lions, as well as 83 diseases and clinical symptoms associated with these pathogens.

This included pathogens that can be passed from lions to other animals and to humans.

Another tourism NGO letter said the aim was to raise awareness, encourage introspection and dialogue, and to ensure the long‐term conservation of South Africa’s wildlife, and position South Africa as an ethical tourism destination.

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