South African Supreme Court overturns 2007 ministerial ruling against hunting captive lions

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, November/December 2010:


Bloemfontein, South Africa–Lions will continue to be killed
in put-and-take “canned hunts” in South Africa, the South African
Supreme Court of Appeal ordained on November 29, 2010, reversing a
February 2007 edict by then minister of environmental affairs
Marthinus van Schalkwyk that captive-bred lions had to be returned to
the wild for two years before they could be hunted.
“No doubt the minister was entitled to take account of the
strong opposition and even revulsion expressed by a substantial body
of public opinion to the hunting of captive bred lions,” wrote Judge
Jonathan A. Heher, ruling on behalf of the South Africa Predator
Breeders’ Association. “But in providing an alternative,” Heher
continued, “he was bound to rely on a rational basis. The evidence
proves he did not do so.”

“The National SPCA was devastated,” responded NSPCA public
information officer Christine Kuch. “The NSPCA believes that the
breeding of predators in captivity for hunting should never have been
allowed in the first place. The industry has been allowed to grow
significantly since 1997 when the issue first made international
headlines. Lack of adequate legislation in this regard and issuing
of permits to allow keeping and breeding lions has contributed to the
“This ruling puts canned hunting right back on the agenda,”
said the Cape Town office of the International Fund for Animal
Welfare in a prepared statement.
NSPCA wildlife unit manager Brenda Santon estimates that
there are about 4,000 captive lions in South Africa. About 300 per
year are shot–about 30% of the total killed by trophy hunters
throughout Africa, reported Antony Sguazzin and Nicky Smith for
Bloomberg News. Only in Tanzania are more lions killed.
“Most lion hunting is done by foreign tourists,” Sguazzin
and Smith continued, “who on average pay about $22,000 to shoot one
of the cats. A further $18,000 is generated in the form of safari
costs and the price of having a lion stuffed for shipment back to the
hunter’s home, according to court documents. Lions bred for hunting
are often shot after just a few days in the wild. In captivity they
are mostly fed on donkey meat bought from rural communities. After
their release from breeding cages they catch and eat game that the
farmers have acquired for their estates,” also usually from
captive-raised stock.

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