A large variety of people from all over the world pass through airports on a daily basis, and thus airports can be very picky about the look of advertisements that adorn its walls and its outside billboards.

When it comes to issues close to people’s hearts, things can get a bit more heated – like when OR Tambo International Airport rejected the publishing of a billboard from Australian organisation For the Love of Wildlife (FLOW), a Blood Lions affiliate, ahead of the the captive lion hunting colloquium in parliament.

The billboard shows a young child holding a toy gun while side-eyeing a lion, with the caption, “Skill level required to be a lion hunter”.

OR Tambo denied the billboard on grounds of “not being entertaining advertisements whereby children are associated with hunting and guns”, and is willing to support the campaign if the artwork is changed.

FLOW found this unacceptable however, stating that the advertisement was created in consultation with behavioural change experts for maximum effect.

“The ad shows a child with a plastic toy gun and the reality is children play with these toys. It’s not about a child engaging in violence or hunting,” says FLOW’s founding director Donalea Patman.

“It compares the skill required to kill a lion to the skill level of a child, to undermine the status of these people who call themselves hunters yet they shoot tame, hand-reared lions in enclosed areas.”

The two-day captive breeding lion for hunting colloquium, currently underway in Cape Town from 21 to 22 August, is aimed at addressing the global concerns raised against the industry and South Africa’s role in wildlife conservation.

Humane Society International (HSI) Africa also released the outcome of their nationwide poll of over a thousand South Africans, showing an overwhelming public concern about the lion breeding industry.

More than two-thirds of their respondents indicated that they think lion breeding is harmful to the country’s international reputation. HSI’s findings echo another new report published by the South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA), which revealed that the captive lion breeding industry revenue represents less than 2% of South Africa’s tourism revenue and that the lion breeding industry damages South Africa’s reputation as a tourist destination.

You can see the disputed advertisement here.

What do you think of the advertisement? You can vote here.