Captive lion breeding is a cruel but legal practice that still happens in South Africa. Lions are bred in private farms where they are used for exploitative purposes like canned hunting and the lion bone industries. Efforts by conservation companies to stop this practice have proven difficult in the face of the supposed financial benefit of the industry. The Daily Vox team takes a closer look.
What is the canned lion industry?
The canned lion industry consists of lion cubs who are born into captivity and taken away from their mothers just days after birth. They are then fed and looked after by volunteers at these facilities. The lions are used for petting and walking expeditions with tourists. The fully grown lions are used in canned lion hunts where they are hunted and killed for sport. Canned hunting refers to the killing of captive or tame lions in confined spaces. The lion skeletons are sold for the lion bone trade.
South Africa has a great number of farms and breeding facilities where these lions are bred and captive lions are kept. People come to these facilities where they pay far less than for the hunting of free lions – and where there are guaranteed a lion kill as the lion has no way of escaping the hunters. South African law allows for the breeding of these lions which are used primarily for the canned hunted and the Asian predator bone market.
Campaign against canned lion industry
There is an ongoing campaign which aims to bring an end to canned hunting and the exploitative breeding of lions and breeding facilities on farms across South Africa. Blood Lions is the organisation which is trying to raise global awareness about the issue. Additionally, the campaign wants to encourage individuals to make “responsible choices for visiting or supporting wildlife interactive tourism facilities and activities.”
Ian Michler lead consultant of the Blood Lions movie – released in 2015 – spoke to The Daily Vox about the issue and what the government is doing to stop it. The movie follows Michler onto breeding farms to witness the battery-farmed lions. According to the film over 800 captive lions are shot in South Africa – mostly by international hunters – contributing to a multimillion-dollar industry. The movie also found out that the breeders of these animals claim that they are involved in conservation and research – yet research finds that those claims are not true.