Born Free Foundation - Keep Wildlife in the Wild

The Debate

Pro-hunting arguments

(c) SanWild; And they call this conservation?

‘If it pays it stays’ - the mantra of many conservationists and certainly the excuse used by hunters around the world. With habitats shrinking and agriculture and industry taking over the wild areas, humans insist that the remaining wild animals must pay their way if we humans are to grant them permission to remain on the planet.

Captive lion breeders call themselves conservationists and some allow day visitors who are blatantly misinformed that the lions are being bred for re-introduction to the wild. Not only is this an unrecognized management policy for lion conservation, the reverse is happening - breeders have to take lions from the wild to add fresh blood to their in-bred captive populations. This adds an additional burden on the wild population which recent reports estimate has crashed to around 15,000 - 23,000 lions. It is well known that the large provincial reserves of Pilansberg and Madikwe in the North West Province and Phinda Privace Reserve in KwaZulu-Ntal are the primary source of wild lions for re-introduction purposes, not the breeding farms.

Also the costs of lion-breeding make these conservation claims a nonsense. It takes large amounts of meat to feed all these lions. Africa Geographic has investigated the Mokwalo breeding farm in the Province of Limpopo. The farm had 110 animals behind wire and they eat approx. 144 tones of food a year. The meat costs about 40p / kilo which gives an annual food bill of about £57,000. So, with each lion costing the farmer about £500 per year to feed, and he is only selling about 20 a year, it is hard to imagine he would settle for the price these lions fetch at auction for conservation projects - on average £1,000.

Hunters from America, Germany, Spain, the UK and other European countries pay big money for the thrill of shooting a normal coloured lion - about £5000.

Of course, hunters prefer the more striking male animals in their photographs or as stuffed trophies. They also prefer unusual colours. A black-manned lion or a white lion can fetch around £20,000.

As ever, there is an argument regarding the possible loss of jobs and income if canned hunting is made illegal. However, most of the big hunting outfits are land owners and so have other options, such as eco-tourism, even if it is less lucrative in the short-term. And do we say the burglar can continue his trade because stopping it would reduce his income? Canned hunting is morally bankrupt and must be banned.

Born Free Foundation
Broadlands Business Campus, Langhurstwood Road
, Horsham, RH12 4QP, UK - Charity Reg. No. 1070906

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