The Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries’ determination to set yet another export quota for lion bones flies in the face of several ongoing processes aimed at curbing the controversial industry, including litigation launched by the NSPCA challenging the quota.
At a recent DEFF stakeholder meeting, purportedly to discuss the 2019 quota, Chairperson Khorommbi Matibe made it clear from the outset that the meeting was not to discuss ethics or welfare within the industry. “It’s not about whether there should be a quota; it’s just about how many can be exported,” he stated.
The objective directly contradicts a Parliamentary motion , stating that the Department should “as a matter of urgency initiate a policy and legislative review of captive lion breeding for hunting and lion bone trade, with a view of putting an end to this practice”.
It also disregards a Constitutional Court ruling, which held that animal welfare and conservation are intertwined concepts in that the protection of animal welfare is a part of the environmental right in section 24 of the Constitution.
According to Linda Park, director Voice4lions, the DEFF has already made up their minds and “they’re giving a big middle finger to conservation and anyone who opposes the industry.” The meeting was just an “unnecessary, whitewashing exercise,” she says.