Proposed Hunting Bill a Sham as Government Bows to Big Business

Friday, December 15, 2006
Cape Town, South Africa
Instead of a promised shut down of canned hunting, the Government has bowed to threats of legal action from the hunting and captive breeding industries by imposing only the barest minimum of controls as to how and when large predators may be killed.
“Big business appears to have won the day in ensuring that canned hunting will continue virtually unchecked and even given a veneer of respectability by this new bill,” said Jason Bell-Leask, Southern Africa Director of IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare – www.ifaw.org).

The new legislation announced earlier this week and due to be promulgated in March 2007, says that captive bred lions may only be hunted six months after being released. The size of the area into which the lion is released is not defined.

“In effect canned hunting and captive breeding of large predators to supply the canned hunt have not been banned,” said Bell-Leask.

“The Government has chosen to ignore the recommendations of its own task team that it impose an outright ban on canned hunting and severely restrict the practice of captive breeding. Instead it has given in to legal threats by the industry. Government’s protests about stamping out the abuses in this industry are nothing more than empty promises.

“By protecting business interests they are showing us that animal welfare comes a distant second to commercial exploitation. It’s a shame,” he said.  Last year the Report of a Panel of Experts on Professional and Recreational Hunting in South Africa admitted that South Africa is poorly regulated due to different policies set by different provinces, and differing capacity to enforce them.

“Given a limited provincial capacity it is very unlikely that what has been proposed will ever be enforced and animal abuse is bound to continue unabated,” said Bell-Leask.

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