South Africa: State Takes Aim At Canned-Hunting Racket
Business Day (Johannesburg)
February 21, 2007
Posted to the web February 21, 2007
Chris Van Gass
Environment Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk yesterday announced wide-ranging measures to clean up the hunting industry, including outlawing the hunting of captive-bred large predators known as canned lion hunting.
Van Schalkwyk said this would signal the start of a cleanup of the hunting industry and lay the basis for a "well-regulated and ethical hunting and game-farming industry in SA".
"We are putting an end, once and for all, to the reprehensible practice of canned hunting."
The regulations ban hunting large predators and rhinoceros for two years if they are captive- bred animals released on a property for the purpose of hunting.
Van Schalkwyk said the regulations would not be welcomed by many role players with vested interests in the industry, who had threatened government with legal action, but they were welcome to try as was their right.
"SA 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," he said.
Van Schalkwyk said while hunting was an important industry, it needed to be managed "in accordance with ethical and defensible standards".
The economic value of hunting in SA has been estimated at R603m to R3,7bn, according to a report by a panel of experts he appointed to look into the issue.
Hunting for biltong was estimated at R450m to R3bn, while the economic effect of trophy hunting was estimated between R153m and R832m.
The regulations include prohibitions and restrictions on certain activities and methods of hunting. Hunting thick-skinned animals, such as rhinoceros and large predators, with bow and arrow will be prohibited, as will hunting from vehicles.
Van Schalkwyk said the regulations, to be implemented on June 1, were the result of three years of consultation between government, civil society, the wildlife industry and animal welfare groups. He had taken into account recommendations by the a panel of experts he appointed.
For the first time nationally, listed species would have uniform conservation status across the country. Government would have muscle to ensure that SA's biodiversity was used in an ecologically sustainable way.
"A broad range of restricted activities will now require permits. The illicit trading of our endangered fish, bird and plant species, like cycads, will be rooted out. The same legal standards will apply throughout the country, closing loopholes and removing discrepancies between provinces.
"The regulations introduce a uniform national system for registration of captive breeding operations, commercial exhibition facilities, game farms, nurseries, scientific institutions, sanctuaries and rehabilitation facilities.
"These institutions will be required to meet strict criteria, and for the first time provision will be made for the recognition of hunting organisations and the application of codes of ethical conduct and good practice," said Van Schalkwyk.