Animal welfare groups call for new laws

Urgent national legislation is needed to curb irregular and unethical practices in the country’s hunting and wildlife industry, animal welfare groups said on Monday.

This has become clear in private workshops and talks with industry role players, said the National Council of Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the SanWild Wildlife Trust, Wildcare Africa Trust and Wildlife Action Group.

“Unfortunately, it seems that the practice of hunting ‘canned’ animals without the principles of fair chase is deeply entrenched in the South African wildlife industry and includes various other species as well,” they said.

Very little has been done by the hunting community and conservation authorities to curb this method of hunting since the Cook report exposed the practice in 1997.

The main objections of conservationists and animal welfare groups to canned hunting are that the breeding of lions for this purpose has no conservation value and that the hunting ethics are highly questionable.

The government has been called on to prove through action that it is serious about conservation, the animal welfare groups said.

“The group is of the opinion that there are many practices in the South African hunting industry that need to be addressed urgently on a national level,” it added.

“The concept of sustainable use should not be used as an excuse to discard sound conservation principles and ethics, allowing the blatant exploitation of wildlife populations.”—Sapa

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