ABOUT THE CAMPAIGN
When travelling in South Africa, please THINK before you VISIT, CUDDLE, WALK, VOLUNTEER or SHOOT.
The Blood Lions Goal is to bring an end to canned hunting and the exploitative breeding of lions and other predators on farms across South Africa.
The Blood Lions team, which includes you, will plan and implement campaigns of awareness and action aimed at the following stakeholders:
- The general public
- Government (both local and international) and provincial decision-makers
- The scientific and conservation community (NGO's)
- The tourism industry
- The professional hunting bodies
- The volunteer agencies
What You Need To Know
Breeding predators in cages and confined areas is not only about canned or captive hunting – there are a number of additional revenue streams and none have anything to do with conservation.
Before deciding whether to visit, volunteer or hunt we ask that you consider the following:
On Breeding & Canned Hunting
- There are about 200 farms and breeding facilities holding somewhere between 6 000 and 8 000 predators in captivity. The vast majority, possibly as many as 7 000 of these, are lions.
- Over 800 captive-bred lions are killed annually in South Africa by trophy hunters, and increasingly, canned or captive hunting is seen as unethical and unsportsmanlike.
- For many people, there is no difference between canned hunting and the term captive hunting that has been introduced by the authorities and professional hunting bodies in an attempt to get away from the negative image associated with canned hunting.
- There is a growing group of professional hunters and organizations completely opposed to the practices of canned or captive hunting. It is highly likely that these practices may well cause splits between the various hunting bodies.
- Unless under the auspices of an authentic team of scientists and conservationists, breeding lions and other predators in cages or enclosed areas has no conservation value whatsoever.
- There is a lack of data to support the claim that hunting captive bred lions takes pressure off wild lions. We do know that wild lion numbers across Africa continue to decline, and that wherever it remains possible to hunt these, demand for permits remains high.
- Canned or captive hunting has merely opened up an entirely new market for people that would not have been able to afford a wild hunt.
- Conservationists and animal welfare experts remain deeply concerned about the breeding practices used and the general conditions that exist on may of South Africa’s lion farms and breeding facilities.
- Given the growth trends in predator breeding since 1999, it is forecast there could be as many as 12 000 to 15 000 lions and other predators on farms by 2020.
- Read this DECLARATION from SAMPEO.
On Volunteerism & Conservation
- Very few, if any of the private lion farms and predator breeding facilities in South Africa can be regarded as genuine conservation undertakings as they do not work in conjunction with recognized lion ecologists and scientists or any of the global predator conservation agencies.
- Most are simply breeding or holding predators for a variety of commercial purposes and making use of volunteers has become one of the most lucrative revenue streams. Some facilities are earning in excess of US$100 000 in some months from their volunteer programmes alone.
- There has not been a successful lion reintroduction programme using captive bred and reared lions in South Africa. Lion conservationists warn that captive bred lions are not suitable for reintroduction programmes.
- There are only a handful of authentic wildlife sanctuaries in South Africa and they do not breed, trade (they mostly receive animals rather than going out to acquire them) or interact with the animals in any way.
- South Africa has no need to be breeding lions for release into wilderness areas. In addition, if there was such a need, using hand-reared or human-imprinted and genetically contaminated lions is not an acceptable way of doing this.
- Taking lion cubs away from their mothers is not a natural process and is only done to exploit the animals and you as the visitor or volunteer.
- Very few, if any of the cubs you pet and cuddle have been ‘abandoned’ or rescued in the wild.
- Using breeding farms as an educational facility is like using fast-food outlets as a venue to teach about nutrition and good eating habits. In other words, breeding farms and petting facilities do not serve any educational purpose. Instead, they promote the cycle of breeding and captivity.
- In general, the quality and validity of information being given out to visitors on South Africa’s predator farms and facilities is poor. It is also confusing vital conservation messages and priorities.
- These operations are taking in significant sums of money, which in some ways is a misdirection of valuable conservation funding.
If you do find yourself on a breeding farm or predator facility, be sure to ask the following questions:
- Do they offer any activities based on animal and human interaction?
- If it claims to be a sanctuary, do they offer life-long care for the animals?
- Are they trading in animals?
- Where did all the animals come from and where do some of them go?
- Who is their recognized predator ecologist or scientist?
- Have any of their animals been released into the wild? And if so, where and when?
- Before enrolling as a volunteer or going as a visitor, check the social media sites and blogs for comments and feedback on the particular farm or facility.
On the Lion Bone and Other Trade Options
- The lion bone trade is a relatively new revenue stream for the breeders and farmers and has come about as lion bones are now being used as an alternative to tiger bones in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).
- Over 1 000 lions are killed annually for the burgeoning lion bone trade. This is up from 287 carcasses exported in 2010.
- As has been the case with various other wildlife species, a legal trade promotes demand and a parallel illegal market. This in turn puts pressure on wild lion populations.
- Lions and other predators are being exported to private collectors, mostly in the Middle and Far East. These collectors are keeping the animals under appalling conditions, often confined to small spaces within the boundaries of major cities.
- As the demand for lion bone increases, so will the intensive breeding practices. In time, lions may well end up being bred under agricultural conditions.
- Although ‘tiger bone wine’ has been used in TCM for at least 1 000 years or more, there are no known medicinal properties.
- Often under the guise of scientific and/or research purposes, predators are also being sold to private and public zoos around the world, many of which are in a poor state.
By supporting these facilities and activities, either as a day visitor, volunteer or hunter you are not contributing to conservation. Instead, you are party to spreading the misinformation and the horrors some of the world’s most iconic wild species are facing.
Our Campaign Progress
The Blood Lions team have already made significant progress:
- We have filmed and produced Blood Lions, the first feature documentary that looks at all aspects of predator breeding in South Africa.
- We have been able to get the film accepted into various film festivals around the world.
- This website has become a global platform to raise awareness around the issues as well as acting as a co-ordinated call for action.
- We have addressed both the Australian and European Parliaments on the issues and have briefed decision-makers, conservationists and scientists in both regions. As a result of the visit to Australia, that country has become the first to ban the importation of lion trophies into the country.
- We have started assembling a coalition of conservation, tourism and scientific NGO's and other organizations against the practices.
We have undertaken to be partners for change with various Ministries in the South African government.
The Official trailer for Blood Lions, a documentary that exposes the terrible truth behind the predator breeding and canned lion hunting industries in South Africa: http://www.bloodlions.org/
WATCH the full documentary – Blood Lions is now available worldwide for download: http://wildlifeconservationchannel.co…
The NSPCA has huge animal welfare concerns for the animals exploited in the captive predator and canned hunting industry in South Africa. This industry is unregulated, uncontrolled and is responsible for untold cruelty. It is a tragedy that our wild animals are reduced to profit making machines. Coupled with this members of public are unwittingly encouraging and supporting this cruelty, so it is vital that the public are aware of the truth behind the industry so they can make informed decisions and hopefully choose not to support such an unethical industry.
Sr.Ainsley Hay, Manager, NSPCA Wildlife Protection Unit
Breeding magnificent wild creatures like lions in camps so that they can be slaughtered for ego and money is unconscionable and should be outlawed. Lions have the right to live in the wild and to continue playing their unique role within the ecological communities of Africa. The continued existence of the canned hunting industry is a moral outrage that diminishes us all. This important film shines a light into the dark corners of this ugly business.
Cormac Cullinan, Cullinan & Associates Incorporated
Cruel, barbaric, macabre – all words used by Australian MPs about lion farming and the canned lion hunting industry in SA. Our campaign was glad to be able to assist and participate in a full length documentary that aims to expose a brutal industry whose whole business model is routine, egregious cruelty to helpless animals – for fun.
Chris Mercer, Founder, CACH (Campaign Against Canned Hunting)
Captive lions have long been a blemish on South Africa’s wildlife and tourism landscape and their tragic story needed to be exposed before these practices negatively impacted on Brand South Africa. Congratulations to all involved in taking the time and making this happen.
Colin Bell, Tourism consultant and author of “Africa’s Finest”
“As a travel and conservation based organization, we find the “Blood Lions” documentary deeply disturbing. Despite being hard to watch, we urge people to get out there and see it. It is important to shed light on the dark and corrupt business of rearing lions for the purposes of hunting, in hopes of making a positive change. As we polled our membership, we found that individually each of our companies have chosen to stop booking all activities that contribute to this industry.”
The Safari Professionals – 30 Tour Operators based in the US and Canada
South Africa’s failure to address the canned hunting industry has emboldened those who make a living out of the death of lions bred, raised and slaughtered on a ‘no kill, no fee’ basis. The canned hunting industry is unnatural, unethical and unacceptable. It delivers compromised animal welfare and zero education. It undermines conservation and creates a moral vacuum now inhabited by the greed and grotesque self-importance of those who derive pleasure in the taking of life.
Blood Lions lays bare the truth behind the canned hunting industry that, far from contributing to the future survival of the species, may, in fact, accelerate extinction in the wild, leaving behind a trail littered with rotting corpses of its helpless and hopeless victims.
Will Travers OBE, President Born Free Foundation
The Marchig Animal Welfare Trust, in providing support for the making of this Documentary, does so in the firm belief that it is important that the true facts behind captive lion breeding and canned lion hunting in South Africa, is brought to the attention of a global audience in order to create awareness which in turn will lead to much needed change.
Les Ward MBE, Chairman, The Marchig Animal Welfare Trust
This is a timely, courageous as well as a deeply disturbing documentary. It is at the same time, a voice for the wild and the voiceless … of saying “NO MORE!” to that terrible triad of financial opportunism, deceit and indifference to the non-human animal by those claiming to be conservationists.
Ian McCallum – Author, poet, psychiatrist and naturalist
With the constant pressure on wildlife, every effort must be made to keep our last vestiges of natural fauna and flora protected. Canned hunting of any kind, along with the related consequences, must be condemned by humanity as not only a travesty of nature but also an utterly inhumane practise. Taming lion cubs only to later hunt them is an utterly inhumane practice. It is pseudo-hunting, a complete sham and does not even qualify as hunting on a sustainable use basis. Wildlife conservation has to evolve into practices that are ethical, humanitarian and sustainable. This will not be achieved if there is not real and fair community involvement which has not been part of the hunting fraternity’s evolution.
Yvette Taylor, Executive Director, The Lawrence Anthony Earth Organisation
“Canned lion ‘hunting’ is nothing less than a bargain basement opportunity for foreign hunters to engage in one of South Africa’s most sordid practices. Hunting of captive bred lions entirely dependent on human fingerprints from cub to trophy is immoral, unethical and against all animal welfare concerns. The fact that it still continues as profitable commerce is a damning statement against all of us who have not properly engaged to snuff it out. Blood Lions is a good start to bring change.”
Dr Pieter Kat – Director: LionAid