The majority of South Africans want the canned lion hunting industry banned, according to the findings of a 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.
According to the organisation, lions are being bred on approximately 200 farms across South Africa for the purpose of being commercially hunted. Every year, about 1 000 lions are shot in South Africa, with almost all of them being supplied as captive-bred and hand-raised animals, Four Paws noted.
It added that South Africa is the only country in Africa which continues to allow this practice, despite government having received widespread global condemnation for its support of the industry. Several countries, including Australia and France, have banned trophy imports from South Africa as a result.
Four Paws country director Fiona Miles said the latest findings added 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 symbolises strength and family unity. It is appalling that our wildlife has been commoditised and is 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 is appealing to the South African government to ban the captive breeding and hunting of lions.