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High Court ruling can help SA keep its prides

On August 6, the High Court of South Africa handed down its judgement on lion bone exports between the National Council of SPCAs (NSPCAs) and the Minister of Environmental Affairs and the South African Predators Association.

The judgement found in favour of the NSPCA, and states that the quotas set for lion bone in 2017 and 2018 were unlawful and constitutionally invalid.

“It was further stated that the Minister and the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) disregard the welfare of captive lions in setting the quota, and whilst welfare is not their mandate, the Minister and the DEA must take the welfare of captive lions, and other captive wildlife into consideration in decision making,” the NSPCA have said in an official statement.

The judgement’s introduction makes it clear that it is not dealing with the captive lion industry as a whole. “These proceedings relate to the process by which South Africa sets annual export quotas for trade in lion bone, bone pieces, bone products, claws, skeletons, skulls and the like for commercial purposes, which are derived from captive breeding operations in South Africa,” it says. “This application is not about the captive lion-breeding industry as a whole and the debates that have emerged at both the national as well as at an international level concerning its existence and continuance.”

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