I’m pleased to see that Greg Hunt, Australia’s environment minister, has announced that he is banning imports of lion body parts into Australia. The intention, as I see it, is to stop Australian citizens going to South Africa to shoot lions, corralled in enclosures and specially bred for the purpose. This is canned lion hunting. He has applied the same restriction on rhino body parts as well.
It is obviously completely immoral; it always was – even more so today with the gradual decline in the population size of lions in Africa notwithstanding the fact that as mentioned these lions are bred for the purpose very often. But the whole process is very demeaning for this iconic species of wild cat and it devalues the lion in the eyes of others as an object that can be shot at as if it is a target at a shooting range; putting aside for a moment that it is also both cruel and inhumane.
A small but significant number of Australians like to go on canned hunting trips to South Africa. They like to bring back body parts of lions (100 over the past four years). Sometimes the body parts can be fully stuffed carcasses, the paw of a lion or a skull mounted in classic fashion to hang on the living room wall. All this is probably done for some sort of pseudo-macho statement to his family and friends.
A hunter who participates in canned lion hunts can expect to pay anything from £5000-£25,000 to shoot a lion with shotguns, pistols or crossbows or any other weapon that he desires and long as he kills it and enjoys the killing of it.
At least Australia is doing something about it because this ban should put off Australians visiting South Africa to participate in this immoral sport. However, canned lion hunting will carry on as normal because there are many people around the world who like to do this sort of thing. It is up to the South African government to ban it but, regrettably, it seems to me, there is too much money to be made.
Photo: Brian Snelson on Flickr