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Lack of welfare studies on captive breeding exposes lions to undocumented cruelty

This is an excerpt from an article written and published online by Farming Portal on 12 May, 2022

This has been revealed in a joint scientific study published earlier this month by World Animal Protection and Blood Lions..

“With a substantial captive lion industry of more than 350 commercial facilities holding between 8,000-10,000 lions and the complete absence of scientific welfare studies in that industry, we are in the dark in terms of the extent and nature of the welfare issues we are dealing with. The many atrocities found by the National Council of Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NSPCA) on commercial lion farms during welfare inspections show that we are not dealing with theoretical challenges, but rather a very real and highly problematic situation”, says Dr. Louise de Waal (Director, Blood Lions). 

The aim of the study was to identify the welfare challenges lions in the commercial captive predator industry in South Africa face on a day-to-day basis. 

Some welfare challenges identified included a wide range of diseases, injuries, malnutrition and obesity, lack of (clean) water, and abnormal behaviours like excessive pacing and self-mutilation, which were all associated with the keeping of captive lions in facilities such as zoos, wildlife parks and sanctuaries across the globe. However, not one study focussed specifically on the welfare of lions exploited by commercial facilities in South Africa.