A HOLISTIC FRAMEWORK TO RESOLVE HUMAN AND WILDLIFE ISSUES IN THE CAPTIVE BIG CAT SECTOR
LETTER TO MINSTER BARBARA CREECY, DEPARTMENT FORESTRY, FISHERIES AND THE ENVIRONMENT, 19th JULY 2021
The EMS Foundation commends the Honourable Minister for her commitment to ending inhumane and irresponsible practices in the wildlife industry which greatly harm the reputation of South Africa and to ending the captive lion industry so that South Africa does not captive breed lions, keep lions in captivity, or use captive lions or their derivatives commercially.
Furthermore, the EMS Foundation applauds the Honourable Minister for meeting with animal welfare and animal protection advocacy groups on the 17th June 2021 and the resulting discussion.
The EMS Foundation notes the call for comments on the draft policy position on the conservation and ecologically sustainable use of elephant, lion, leopard and rhinoceros, gazetted on 28th June 2021.
The EMS Foundation notes with concern violations of workers’ rights and job security issues in the captive wildlife sector.
The EMS Foundation notes that recent research shows the highly racialised and discriminatory practices in the wildlife industry (1) as well as the exploitation of poor black workers who often have to deal with wild animals with very little safety and minimal pay. (2)
There are dangers to marginalised and exploited workers involved in the industry and in the slaughter for meat or bones.(3) Generally the wildlife industry violates the rights of farm workers who are disproportionally exposed to risks while living and working with dangerous animals like lions. In addition, generally these workers do not receive employment benefits, such as medical insurance nor do they have the means to protect themselves from harm, disability or death.(4)
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(1) Nomalanga Mkhize ‘Game farm conversions and the land question: Unpacking present contradictions and historical continuities in farm dwellers’ tenure insecurity in Cradock’ (2014) 32 Journal of Contemporary African Society 207-219; Femke Brandt and Marja Spierenburg ‘Game fences in the Karoo: Reconfiguring spatial and social relations’ (2014) Journal of Contemporary African Society 1- 18.
(2) Femke Brandt ‘Trophy hunting in South Africa: Risky business for whom’ Daily Maverick (17 Nov 2015) available at http://www.dailymaverick.co.za/opinionista/2015-11-17-trophy-hunting-in-south-africa-risky-business-for- whom/?utm_source=Daily+Maverick+Mailer#.VqCRDLZ97IV.
(3) Peet Van Der Merwe et al., “The Economic Significance of Lion Breeding Operations in the South African Wildlife Industry,” International Journal of Biodiversity and Conservation 9, no. 11 (2017): 314–22, https://doi.org/10.5897/IJBC2017.1103.
(4) Femke Brandt Trophy Hunting in South Africa: Risky Business for Whom? DAILY MAVERICK (17 Nov 2015)
IMAGE CREDIT: Richard Smith / Alamy Stock Photo
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