SHOOTING OR HUNTING: CALL IT WHAT YOU LIKE – PHASA HAS A DUTY TO BE INVOLVED
The issue of lion hunting is both topical and emotive, and it is a pity that Messrs Damm and Flack have elected not to make a constructive contribution to the public debate on this subject but have instead produced a polemic which is factually inaccurate and fundamentally misrepresents PHASA’s position (African Indaba, 5 December 2013).
The authors’ attack on PHASA is based on their confusion between canned hunting and the hunting of captive-bred lions. These are not the same: canned hunting, which is illegal in South Africa, is when the animal is hunted while it is drugged or in an enclosed hunting area too small for the lion to evade the hunter; in captive-bred hunting, the animal is released into an extensive wildlife system to be hunted in accordance with South Africa’s strict and explicit regulations.
PHASA is now, and always has been, strongly opposed to canned hunting and will act against any of its members who engage in this activity. PHASA will continue to work with the government and the law enforcement agencies to eradicate this practice. This position was reaffirmed at its annual general meeting in December 2013.
PHASA’s postion on captive bred hunting was, prior to our 2013 AGM, covered by the following policy: “PHASA supports the responsible hunting of all species in a sustainable wildlife system, in which animals can fend for themselves, provided that they are hunted in accordance with the laws of the land and PHASA’s own code of conduct.”
There have however been a number of developments that necessitated a review of our 2006 position, as stipulated in the previous paragraph, on captive-bred hunting. First, the South African Predator Breeders’ Association (SAPA) won its appeal against the Minister of Environmental Affairs in 2010, effectively ending any attempts to stop the practice in South Africa; second, the Department of Environmental Affairs has itself significantly softened its stance on the activity, calling it sustainable; and third, demand for lion hunting continues to grow.
Given this growth in demand, the fact that captive-bred lion hunting was deemed legal and sustainable by our courts and government, and the potential risks that continued unethical hunting practices in the captive-bred hunting industry posed to traditional trophy hunting, we resolved at our 2011 AGM that it would be a dereliction of our duties to simply distance ourselves from the practice while ignoring continued unethical hunting and the damage this could cause to the reputation of all trophy hunting activities.
As such, we entered into a dialogue with SAPA to improve the conditions in which lions are reared and hunted, and over the two year period we have helped SAPA draw up a set of norms which we believe is a good starting point to ensure that captive-bred lion hunting is carried out responsibly.
There are too many distortions and inaccuracies in the article by Messrs Damm and Flack to deal with individually – it is worth noting that the only authority they cite for their assertions is one of their own articles – and readers who would like to know more about PHASA’s policies and principles are welcome to contact me.
For further information contact Adri Kitshoff, PHASA chief executive, on 083 650 0442.