An overwhelming majority of South Africans want to see the canned lion hunting industry banned, according to the findings of a new poll commissioned by animal welfare organisation Four Paws.
The poll, covering a representative cross section of the country found that 76% believe the activity is unethical, while 59% do not think it makes a valuable contribution to the country’s economy. Just 6% of those surveyed strongly disagreed with a ban of the practice.
Currently lions are being bred on approximately two hundred farms across South Africa for the purpose of being commercially exploited and hunted. Every year approximately 1 000 lions are shot in South Africa with almost all of them being supplied as captive bred and hand raised animals.
South Africa is the only country in Africa which continues to allow this practice and the government has received widespread global condemnation for its support of the industry, with several countries, including Australia and France, banning trophy imports from South Africa as a result.
Fiona Miles, country director for Four Paws South Africa, commented on the latest findings, which add significant weight to the calls for an end to canned lion hunting: “We believe that this poll is representative of the general public’s view on the practice of canned lion hunting. This supports our call for a nationwide ban on the captive breeding of lions for the purpose of being shot.
“The lion is an iconic South African animal that symbolizes strength and family unity, it is appalling that our wildlife has been commoditized and being intensively farmed for profit. This proud animal is an integral part of South Africa’s biodiversity and heritage yet we have allowed it to be manipulated for the purpose of being shot by foreign visitors to our beautiful country.”
Four Paws believes that the time has come for the South African government to listen to its citizens. There have been numerous public marches and protests calling for action. The government of South Africa needs to heed the call of its own citizens and the global community and ban the captive breeding and hunting of captive bred lions for good.
The opinion poll was undertaken by a South African Market Research Society (SAMRA) member company.