Canned Hunting is an AbominationPublished August 10, 2010
Hunting is a topic which is generally quite controversial for those of us who are concerned about the environment and cherish our wildlife. I abhor any type of sport hunting. But at the same time, I realize that there are certain exceptions, such as an unchecked deer population, when hunting is a better option than for these animals to suffer and starve to death. Under these conditions, controlled and skillful hunting can be considered humane. Yet, I still believe humans have created this overpopulation scenario by overbuilding and thereby wrecking the balance of these animals' habitat. So it is up to humans to fix the conditions that continue to cause hunting to be an expeditious solution to the problem. But what really infuriates me is "canned" hunting. In South Africa, big game "trophy" hunters - generally from the United States and Europe - are escorted by "guides" to fenced-in feeding and watering areas. Then thousands of semi-tame lions, bred and reared in captivity, are killed to provide a "thrill" and a "prize" for those willing to pay exorbitant amounts of money for canned hunting. Not only is this a cowardly act, but it is also unethical since the wanton sacrifice of these magnificent animals is not justified at all. Thankfully, Marthinus van Schalkwyk, the new outspoken South Africa's Minister of Tourism, declared canned lion hunting as a "reprehensible" practice. He said, "South Africa has a long-standing reputation as a global leader on conservation issues. We cannot allow our achievements to be undermined by rogue practices such as canned lion hunting." However, even though Minister van Schalkwyk introduced new regulations to ban canned lion hunts while he worked for the Ministry of the Environment, the regulations have not yet been implemented. The canned hunting industry's success and appeal have caused a holdup. Therefore, it is "business as usual" for the canned lion hunt industry in South Africa. So these big cats, who have been taught to trust humans for their very survival, continue to be senselessly slaughtered. Minister van Schalkwyk also launched the first National Tourism Strategy for South Africa two months ago. And while he highlighted the need for growth in responsible tourism, a call for the end of canned hunting was never mentioned. South Africa's reputation for caring about the environment and animal species is certainly not enhanced by this glaring oversight. And ironically, the present National Tourism Sector Strategy reads, "its natural environment is one of South Africa's greatest tourism resources, and therefore there is a need for the tourism industry to be actively involved in conserving and protecting our natural environment." So when they draw tourists to visit South Africa with a chance to see these magnificent animals, do they not consider canned lion hunting a conflict with this strategy? Right now, our help is needed! The Humane Society International,(HSI) is presently running a campaign to facilitate an end to the insidious business of canned hunting. HSI has provided an easy form-letter, addressed to Minister van Schalkwyk, in which you can express your ideas and opinions at https://secure.humanesociety.org/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=4655. How do you feel about canned hunting? Leave a comment and share your thoughts. Photo from SanWild.