WAPFSA COMMENTS ON GOVERNMENT NOTICE UNDER SECTION 9A READ WITH SECTIONS 99 AND 100 OF NEMBA 2004 (ACT NO. 10 OF 2004)
The Wildlife Animal Protection Forum of South Africa WAPFSA is a collaborative network consisting of 30 (thirty) organisations representing the interests of wild animals and the natural environment as a vehicle with which to engage with the South African government on subject matter which includes, amongst other, wild animal protection, ethical and compassionate conservation, welfare, biodiversity loss and climate change.
South Africa is home to the world’s largest commercial lion farming industry. Lions are bred, often in appalling conditions, they are exploited for profit at every stage of their short lives.
At some facilities in South Africa cubs are removed from their mothers within a few days of their birth and are placed in the care of unsuspecting foreign and local volunteers who pay handsomely for the opportunity to look after “orphaned lions and other big cats”. Captive lions and other big cat cubs are also utilised in cub petting and various tourist interaction industries such as “walking with lions”.
When the cubs have reached the desired age and are no longer considered safe to be utilised in the tourist industry some of the lions are hunted for trophies either for the local hunting industry or for trophies that are exported to countries that condone canned lion hunting. Canned lion hunting reserves in South Africa typically have reinforced fences to prevent the lions from escaping during a hunt. Some of the lions are kept in small enclosures so that hunters with minimal skill, energy, patience or time can still successfully kill them.
The Members of WAPFSA are pleased that the Minister and the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment are finally initiating concrete steps against this distasteful industry. We encourage the South African government to do more to prevent the disturbing practices taking place at these breeding facilities.
WAPFSA members remain concerned about the trade, including live lions, the hunt and consumption of lions and all big cats and they stress the need for a just transition and re-establishment of harmonious coexistence with Nature and the protection of the web of life.
WAPFSA members support the acknowledgement of sentience in this Document and recommend that sentience is included and recognised in all DFFE policies and legislation in relation to wildlife. The inclusion of sentience is in line with the implementation of NEM:BA and the principles of wildlife well-being.
In the Draft prohibition, we noted the mention of the prohibition, of the introduction of live specimens of African lion; this therefore covers the prohibition of breeding and introducing new cubs. WAPFSA members are of the strong opinion that sentience should be referenced in this Prohibition and all the policies in relation to wildlife, underscoring the current efforts to implement principles of animal well-being as stated in NEM:BA and they stress that sentience should for no reason been removed in the finalised version of the document.
WAPFSA members would like the Draft Prohibition to properly address the issue of stockpiling, and implement the abolishment of all big cat bone stockpiles.
The prohibition to breed ALL big cats in South Africa is urgently required as currently there is a lack of effective monitoring and regulation at captive breeding facilities to monitor births, deaths transportation of live cats and the disposal of carcasses. This means that captive breeding facilities can act as a conduit for illegal and illicit trade. Similarly, prohibitions should be urgently promulgated to end the handling of, petting of and interactions with lions by humans for commercial purposes.
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