10 facts about canned hunting


We’ve just launched a new campaign to end canned hunting – but what is canned hunting? Here’s 10 facts you need to know about this cruel industry
  1. Canned hunting is the hunting of captive-bred animals in a confined area from which they cannot escape. 
  2. Born Free is opposed to canned hunting. We campaign to end the captive breeding of lions and other predators for canned hunting and other forms of commercial exploitation.
  3. More than 8,000 captive-bred lions are kept in more than 250 breeding facilities in South Africa, where they are exploited for profit at every stage of their lives.
  4. In the lion breeding industry, paying volunteers are recruited to help hand-rear captive-bred lion cubs under the false impression that they will eventually be released into the wild. Tourists pay to take selfies while petting cubs or walking with lions. Ultimately, many of the animals will be shot by paying hunters, and their bones and other body parts sold into local and international trade. 
  5. South Africa has been exporting lion bones and skeletons since 2008. Between 2008 and 2015, it declared exports of more than 5,000 lion skeletons, mainly to the Far East where they are used in traditional medicines and tonics, often as a substitute for tiger bone.
  6. In July 2018, the South African government almost doubled its annual export quota for skeletons from captive-bred lions from 800 in 2017 to 1,500 in 2018, but reduced the quota back down to 800 following international outcry.
  7. In November 2018, a parliamentary committee in South Africa called on the South African government’s Department of Environmental Affairs to bring an end to the captive lion breeding industry.
  8. In March 2019, South Africa’s Department of Environmental Affairs ignored the parliamentary committee and retrospectively issued permits to what had previously been illegal breeding farms.
  9. Responsibility rests with the South African government to close down its lion breeding and canned hunting industries, and to ensure the process is conducted with intelligence, humanity and compassion for the animals concerned. 
  10. Born Free strongly advises people not to visit predator breeding farms to pet lions, hand-rear lion cubs or walk with lions, and works to raise awareness of the risks and the potential for animal suffering involved. There have been several instances where tourists have been injured and even killed by lions on lion breeding farms.

Over the next three months, our new campaign The Great Escape will examine all these facts in further detail. Follow us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, or keep an eye on our website for updates.