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Bad to the Bone: Report on captive lions raises huge welfare, health red flags, and a zoonosis warning

This is an excerpt from an article written by Don Pinnock and published online by Daily Maverick on 17 May, 2022

Zoonosis, where disease jumps from animals to humans, caused the Covid-19 pandemic. Apart from welfare concerns, the huge number of pathogens in caged and farmed lions is a time bomb waiting to explode.

In South Africa, up to 8,000 lions are being raised in nearly 400 commercial captive breeding facilities. Every now and then the NSPCA is called in by a concerned neighbour or a conservation organisation snaps some distressing pictures. There’s very little control and no scientific studies on the effect of permanently caging wild lions or holding them on commercial farms. 

In trying to get a scientific handle on this widespread industry, the NGOs Blood Lions and World Animal Protection embarked on a global search for hard facts on captive lion welfare. The results are disturbing.