No national welfare norms and standards for commercially bred lions

The newly published peer-reviewed paper by Blood Lions and World Animal Protection highlighted the fact that South Africa has no national welfare norms and standards for the captive breeding, keeping and trade of lions and other large felids.

Therefore, lions and other big cats are at risk of a wide range of both physical and mental welfare challenges. 

The lack of income for captive wildlife facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic, coupled with the absence of national welfare norms and standards for the captive breeding, keeping and trade of lions and other big cats in South Africa, has put the existing big cats in captivity at even more risk of serious welfare issues. 

In addition, the National Council of Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NSPCA), which is solely mandated with the enforcement of animal welfare in South Africa, is forced to operate without financial support from the national government

It is time for South Africa to #CancelCaptivity.

Why our recently published scientific paper should concern you

Why our latest scientific paper with World Animal Protection should concern you:

  • The paper highlights that there are major welfare concerns linked to captive lions in South Africa, but no national norms and standards in place to protect them.
  • Zoonosis (diseases that can jump from animals to humans) is a very real threat.
  • Not a single study has been conducted on the welfare of lions on commercial facilities in South Africa or even globally.

These are a few of the many reasons why we need to #CancelCaptivity.

WARNING: viewers may find the contents of the Facebook post disturbing

Major research gap in South Africa found in recently published study

Our research team found that not one single study focused specifically on the welfare of lions housed on commercial facilities in South Africa (or elsewhere).

In our recently published peer-reviewed welfare paper, a host of scientific research was reviewed that focused on captive lions in zoos, wildlife parks and sanctuaries across the globe.

The emphasis in the commercial predator industry is on intensive breeding practices that are consumer-driven and income-generation focused and generally don’t adequately address animal welfare and well-being. Hence, this is where lions are likely to face far greater welfare challenges.

This is a major research gap that needs to be addressed urgently.

It’s time for South Africa to #CancelCaptivity.

We need YOUR support for our Open Letter to SA Ministers

We need your support in urging the South African government to finally prioritize the welfare and well-being of captive lions.

We are appealing to Minister Creecy (Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries) to urgently carry out a comprehensive national audit of the current commercial captive lion industry, including the welfare conditions of the big cats involved, in order to minimise unintended negative welfare impacts during the planned phase out of the industry.

We are also appealing to Minister Didiza (Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development) to bring more urgency to the progression of the new Animal Welfare Bill by setting some clear and prompt timelines for the development and implementation of this Bill, and to urgently involve outside stakeholders into the process.

Sign the Petition and Read the Open Letter to these South African Ministers below.

It’s time for South Africa to #CancelCaptivity.

NEWS: Research has identified 170 physical and psychological conditions

In a newly published, peer-reviewed welfare paper, Blood Lions in partnership with the World Animal Protection identified 170 physical and psychological conditions associated with keeping lions in captivity.

Some of the welfare challenges identified by our researchers included a wide range of diseases, physical injuries, malnutrition and obesity, a lack of (clean) water and abnormal behaviours, like excessive pacing and self-mutilation.

It’s time for South Africa to #CancelCaptivity.

BREAKING: Scientific paper published on the challenges of keeping lions in captivity

BREAKING NEWS: Blood Lions in partnership with the World Animal Protection has published a welfare paper focusing on the challenges of keeping lions in captivity.

The study reviews more than 90 peer-reviewed scientific papers, identifying the various welfare challenges lions in captivity face in a wide variety of environments. The paper also reveals some concerning research gaps and reiterates the urgent need for the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment’s plans to #CancelCaptivity.

Over the next few weeks, we will be unpacking our study’s findings and how they relate to South Africa’s commercial captive lion breeding industry.

Read the full paper HERE.