Friday, December 3, 2010

Speak up against canned lion hunting!

As a nation we South Africans take great pride in our rich biodiversity and breathtaking landscapes. Many tourists travel here to experience the abundant wildlife in the beautiful surroundings of our private and national parks. However, there is an ugly side to the wildlife industry that most tourists do not get to see, but that would probably shock them into reconsidering their decision to support South African tourism: trophy hunting for "sport".

Canned lion hunting, although controversial from the start, has grown over the past couple of years into a million dollar industry that allows wealthy overseas hunters to add a lion to their collection of exotic animal trophies for up to R250 000 per animal. These animals are bred captive specifically for this purpose and kept in confined enclosures - habituated to humans - until the day the price on their heads are claimed and they are hunted within close quarters, without any hope of escaping their already-sealed fate.

Our previous Ministry of Environment and Tourism took a hard public stance against this industry, effectively banning canned lion operations. Unfortunately the already-powerful industry lashed back with an appeal to courts, bringing the legislation to a standstill until this week, when the court ruled in favour of the South African Predator Breeders' Association.

This is a huge blow to the lions and the South African public, the vast majority of whom do not support this practice. In fact, the only people who stand to gain are the ruthless, money-hungry breeders and the cowardly so-called hunters who support them. There is no gain for conservation and certainly no gain for the reputation of our beautiful country.

Please help us stamp out the unethical practice of canned lion hunting! We need to put pressure on the South African government to declare this activity illegal once and for all. Please sign this petition and forward it on to your friends.

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