NSPCA wins lion bone trade case against department

 

 

In a court ruling this week, government’s decision to set a quota for the export of 800 lion skeletons was declared “unlawful and constitutionally invalid”.

This comes at a critical moment in the history of the country’s controversial lion bone trade.

Last September, the National Council of SPCAs (NSPCA) lodged an urgent interdict against the then department of environmental affairs to suspend the department’s authorisation of the lion bone export quota, and any subsequent attempt to increase the quota.

In May this year, without prior notice, the department of agriculture, rural development and land reform — formerly the department of agriculture, forestry and fisheries — suddenly added lions, and a number of other wildlife species — including cheetah and black and white rhinoceros — to its list of animals governed under the Animal Improvement Act.

Last week, the department of environment, forestry and fisheries — formerly the department of environmental affairs — moved to clarify the legal status of lions and the other species listed under the animal act.


READ MORE: Alleged poachers escape lion’s den

In a media statement, the department’s spokesperson Albi Modise confirmed lions are still “subject to the requirements of the National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act and provincial conservation legislation”.

“The inclusion of species such as white and black rhinoceros, lion and cheetah in the amended [Animal Improvement Act] list by no means removes these animals from the jurisdiction of the [department]. It is a punishable offence if a person does not comply with the requirements of [the National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act] and provincial conservation legislation”.

In papers filed in the Johannesburg high court last September, the NSPCA challenged the department’s authority, because it believes, for both the review and interdict purposes, that: there is inadequate regulation of lions’ conditions of captivity and slaughter; the study on which the trade decision was based is incomplete; the department failed to comply with its statutory duty to consult; based on expert opinion and data available, it considers the decision to be scientifically irrational; lion bone trade may threaten the viability of lion and other big cat populations globally encouraging consumers to use lion bone as a replacement for tiger bone in wine, tonics and traditional medicines and may increase demand; captive lion “farming” is an industry that has no conservation value and poses a risk to wild lion, tiger and other big cat populations globally; and the lion bone trade has links to transnational wildlife crime syndicates and other wildlife crime.

The matter was heard at the end of June, before Judge Jody Kollapen. In the judgment this week Kollapen ruled in favour of the NSPCA. 

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Related stories

Johannesburg cannot police its future

South Africa’s biggest city is ground zero for debates about the long-term effectiveness and constitutionality of militarised urban policing and how we imagine the post-Covid city

Businesses should use alternative energy sources, industry bodies advise

Business associations are urging companies to continue seeking alternative energy sources in light of Eskom’s court judgement which would allow the utility to bump up electricity prices up to 15% from next year April 2021.

Residents raise a stink over landfill

The years-long battle against the EnviroServ waste site at Shongweni has taken a new turn

Covid-19 regulations cause confusion for sheep shipment

Confusion about who should check a vessel meant to pick up 60 000 sheep has exposed fissures in the Covid-19 regulations

Inner-city raids: criminal police conduct violates residents’ privacy and dignity

Residents of 11 buildings in Johannesburg have challenged the constitutionality of the raids they were subjected to in the high court

Lawfare hits North West ANC regions

A flurry of legal cases before the party’s regional and provincial conferences are central to Supra’s fightback
Advertising

Subscribers only

The shame of 40 000 missing education certificates

Graduates are being left in the lurch by a higher education department that is simply unable to deliver the crucial certificates proving their qualifications - in some cases dating back to 1992

The living nightmare of environmental activists who protest mine expansion

Last week Fikile Ntshangase was gunned down as activists fight mining company Tendele’s expansions. Community members tell the M&G about the ‘kill lists’ and the dread they live with every day

More top stories

Joe Biden’s debate guests run the only Zimbabwean restaurant in...

A Zimbabwean restaurant feeding people in need formed an unlikely addition to Joe Biden’s election campaign

‘Veteran’s stripes’ vs ‘kind and fair’

This weekend the Democratic Alliance will choose between two starkly different visions for its future

The high road is in harm reduction

While the restriction of movement curtailed the health services for people who use drugs in some parts of the world, it propelled other countries into finding innovative ways to continue services, a new report reveals

Khaya Sithole: Tsakani Maluleke’s example – and challenge

Shattering the glass ceiling is not enough, the new auditor general must make ‘live’ audits the norm here in SA
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday