Thousands of lions are being farmed in captivity in Africa each year, only to be shot dead by tourists wanting to hunt them, according to shocking new revelations.
A book and accompanying film by British businessman and philanthropist Lord Michael Ashcroft sheds light on the abhorrent practises of the hunting industry in South Africa.
The book, titled Unfair Game: An Exposé Of South Africa’s Captive-Bred Lion Industry, explores captive-lion breeding and so called ‘canned hunts’, revealing how there are now an estimated 12,000 captive-bred lions in South Africa … four times the number that their are in the wild.
In an excerpt published by the Daily Mail, Lord Ashcroft writes:
“It is no exaggeration to say that the abuse of lions in South Africa has become an industry.
“Thousands are bred on farms every year; they are torn away from their mothers when they are just days old, used as pawns in the tourist sector and then either killed in a ‘hunt’ or simply slaughtered for their bones and other body parts, which are very valuable in Asia’s so-called medicine market.
“In between, they are poorly fed, kept in cramped and unhygienic conditions, beaten if they do not perform for paying customers, and drugged.
“This sinister system has sprouted up in plain sight in South Africa, inflicting misery on this most noble of beasts on an unimaginable scale.
“My research suggests it is highly likely that there are now at least 12,000 captive-bred lions in the country, against a wild population of just 3,000. Yet, strikingly, just a small number of people – a few hundred – profit from this abusive set-up. Thanks to South Africa’s constitution and laws, they seem able to operate as they wish.”
As per the Daily Mail’s article, Ashcroft commissioned two undercover operations over the span of two years. They were dubbed Operation Simba and Operation Chastise.
The team involved in the operations found evidence of captive-bred lions being hunted for sport. One particular video shows a lioness being shot in a tree by two hunting lodge owners. They then shoot her a further nine times as she dies on the floor.
Ashcroft’s new book states that a captive-bred adult male lion with an impressive mane can be worth as much as £40,000 ($50,500) to trophy hunters.
Via a press release from Unfair Game, the proceeds of which Ashcroft will donate to wildlife in South Africa, he said: “Lion farming shames South Africa, a country that I have loved visiting for many years. It’s time to recognise that it is a cruel and barbaric industry which has no place in the 21st century.”
Wow. Thank you, Lord Ashcroft, for exposing the terrible blight of these majestic lions.
Trophy hunting is bad enough, but the idea people can breed lions simply for tourists to hunt and kill them in ‘canned hunts’ boils my blood.
Share this article if you agree that authorities need to put an end to these sort of inhumane practises.