Many of us who are concerned about the environment and our wildlife may find hunting a subject that is extremely controversial.
I can’t understand why folks take pleasure in hunting as a sport. However, due to wild animal habitat destruction caused by overbuilding and commercialization along with a lack of natural animal predators, the unchecked deer population and other wildlife forced to forage for food in residential areas has become an open invitation for those folks who greatly enjoy their ‘sport’.
At the same time I realize that certain exceptions must be made; when careful and humane hunting becomes a preferable option for these animals rather than letting them suffer and starve to death. Under these circumstances, controlled and skillful hunting can be considered an alternative that is viable and compassionate. But, in the long run, it is really up to humans to fix the impossible conditions they have created.But what really enrages me is the very unsporting sport of “canned hunting“. South Africa is one of the countries that offer big game “trophy” hunters from the United States and Europe the opportunity to stalk their dangerous prey while the animals are safely ensconced in fenced-in feeding and watering areas. To top it off, to make it more realistic, these ‘hunters’ are accompanied by guides.
The debacle has resulted in thousands of semi-tame lions bred and raised in captivity to be murdered, just to provide these “hunters” with the thrill of the kill and to take home a “prize”; for an exorbitant amount of money.
When he was in office, Marthinus van Schalkwyk, the former outspoken and compassionate Minister of South Africa’s Tourism Department declared that canned lion hunting was a “reprehensible” practice. He said,
“South Africa has a long-standing reputation as a global leader on conservation issues. We cannot allow our achievements to be undermined by rogue practices such as canned lion hunting.”
Apparently however, after he left office, and a new Minister took over, business in the canned hunting department seems to be booming once again now that regulations against the practice have been lifted.
According to an article on Huffington Post, the chair of the South African Predator Breeders’ Association, Pieter Potgieter defended canned lion hunts as a business that’s perfectly acceptable. He said,
“The principle that you breed wild animals for economic exploitation is an international norm. It takes place everywhere in the world. The problem is with the lions because the image has been created in the minds of people that the lion is the king of the animals. Walt Disney with his Lion King and all these things, they have created that image.”
Animal rights advocates at Humane Society International continue to maintain that the practice is both unethical and inhumane and is bad for South African’s image. Australia has banned trophy hunters bring home their trophies to stem the flow of wild species body parts coming into the country and to dissuade Australians from engaging in canned hunting. However the lion breeders continue to argue that their business is completely legitimate.
One of the additional ugly side-businesses operated by these breeders is renting out baby lion-cubs to entertain tourists. They soon become customed to people losing their instinctual fear of humans. Ultimately, they too end up as a coveted prize in a canned hunting expedition.
We as animal lovers must take action to help stop this outrageous, cruel and inhumane big business in South Africa. The Animal Rescue Site is requesting those of us who truly care about these animals, to sign their petition to be sent to Peter Thabethe, the head of the South African Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries asking him to once and for all put an end to these brutal canned hunting activities. Please take a moment and sign their petition.
What is your opinion about canned hunting? Please share your opinion in a comment.
Sources: Born Free. org and Huffington Post