We want you all to be able to debate the canned hunting issue knowledgeably, if necessary with experienced hunting industry propagandists on national television.
Is ‘Canned hunting’ defined in any SA law?
No, the new TOPS Regulations do not define 'Canned hunting' so when the Minister says he has banned it, no one can say what he means. Canned hunting is where the target animal is unfairly prevented from escaping the hunter, either by physical constraints (fencing) or by mental constraints (habituation)
I think that inflicting pain and death on unoffending animals for fun (sport) is cruel, and contrary to all major world religions. I also believe that it is a criminal offence under the SA Animals Protection Act of 1962, which makes it an offence to ill-treat domestic animals, livestock - and captive wild animals.
Hunters say that canned lion hunting – trophy hunting – benefits the economy and alleviates poverty.
This government's mindless endorsement of cruel hunting practices will cause a much greater loss than it brings in, of jobs and foreign currency, to our legitimate tourism industry . Unlike eco-tourism, hunting does not have a broad beneficial effect upon communities and the economy. This was conclusively shown in Ian Michler’s well-researched article published in the Africa Geographic magazine a few years ago "To Snap or Snipe." Hunting is not an asset to SA - it is both a threat to conservation and a massive impending threat to our eco-tourism industry. It also presents opportunities for foreign currency fraud on a large scale. (a way to get one's money out of the country)
Lets answer some more common hunting industry claims:
Claim: the captive breeders are boosting lion numbers so they are conservationists.
Answer: once you remove the animals from their natural environment and place them into factory farms to breed living targets, what you have is a straightforward commercial operation. Wild animals are now no longer wild - they have become alternative livestock being farmed. Being proud of boosting the numbers of these miserable prisoners is as absurd as boasting about our huge prison population, and claiming that it proves we are a healthy society.
Claim: every captive lion shot is a wild lion saved.
Answer: Virtually all lions shot in SA are captive bred, so the argument is that sacrificing a SA- bred lion will save a Zambian or Tanzanian lion. This is completely untrue – CITES tags are limited by wild pride populations, and whether there are a million captive lions or none, the same number of CITES tags would be issued.
Actually, the hunting argument is wrong on another ground: it boils down to saying that if other countries fail to protect their lions, then why should we?
Claim: Give it a value and it will be preserved ie the only way to save African wildlife is to systematically hunt it.
Answer: That is as absurd as arguing that it is only whaling which will save the whales. And any reasonable person would say that giving ivory and Rhino horn a high value is only driving elephants and Rhino to the brink of extinction.
Hunters seek to draw a line between 'ethical hunting' and 'canned hunting' based on fair chase.
This approach is transparently flawed. There is no relevant difference between ethical and canned hunting. The infliction of pain and death for fun on unoffending animals is the same. There is still a loss of biodiversity regardless of the method of killing.
All sport hunting is cruel. There is no logical reason to distinguish between cruelty to wild animals, and cruelty to dogs and cats. One reason why we focus on lions is that they are hand-reared, bottle-fed and habituated to humans before being turned out and having the dog pack set on them for hunting. See eg www.africancats-hounds.co.za