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Lion Slaughter a Disgrace to Hunting

Let’s put the lid on wild tales of canned hunting” (May 31) refers. How anyone can use the term “hunting” in connection with the shooting of canned lions in South Africa is beyond me.

We are talking about the killing of tame, farm-bred animals that never lived a natural life or were given a chance to breed and feed the natural way. That is why it is so different from most game farming in South Africa, which has been very beneficial to many rare species of antelope, released into suitable habitats after years of protection.

The lion industry is another matter — it is a money-making venture that has never been of any benefit to the wild population of lions in South Africa. Apart from a few token “p op u l at i o n s ” to create some sort of alibi, nearly all trophy lions are taken directly from their cages and killed by either very naive hunters, or hunters with no self-respect.

The failure by the authorities and professional organisations such as the Professional Hunters Association of South Africa to stop this unethical practice has severely damaged the reputation of our hunting industry, and the attempt by the association, and now also the honourable Minister Edna Molewa, to rename these hapless creatures “captive-bred lions” is, to put it politely, extremely naive.

Most importantly, the renaming has been met with disbelief by many overseas hunting organisations. The European hunting union CIC and the Nordic Safari Club in Scandinavia have distanced themselves from the shooting of lions in South Africa, and some ban South African hunting outfitters from marketing their special brand of “lion hunting” at hunting shows in their countries.

Hunters who still travel to South Africa to participate in the shooting of canned lions are increasingly becoming ridiculed by ethical hunters.

Even in the US, with import regulations on the horizon, and many airlines refusing to transport CITES trophies on their aircraft, the party could soon be over.

I’ve been a hunting outfitter for 35 years, and I am truly saddened to experience how those colleagues have lowered the ethical limits of hunting in South Africa. — A concerned hunting outfitter, by e-mail