COMMENT – DRAFT AMENDMENTS TO SOUTH AFRICAN MEAT SAFETY ACT

The EMS Foundation comment on amendments to the Meat Safety Act were submitted by Cullinan and Associates.

“Our client does not support the development of the game meat industry, which we assume this amendment seeks to facilitate.

Our client has recently submitted to the Department of the Environment, Forestry and Fisheries a comprehensive comment on the Draft Meat Strategy for South Africa. The essence of our client’s objection to the Draft Strategy is that the development of a game meat industry has serious risks and direct negative ramifications for public health, biodiversity, ecological restoration and animal well-being. The intensive breeding for commercial purposes of any wild fauna should be prohibited, not promoted.”

Image Credit:
https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-52125309

Image Caption: The Wildlife Conservation Society is calling for a ban on wildlife consumption.

©EMS Foundation 2022. All Rights are Reserved.

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OWBC CONTINUED HUNGER FOR ACHIEVING EXCELLENCE IN 2022

A TEAM FROM THE OVERSTRAND WHALE BOXING CLUB IS VOTED THE SECOND BEST IN THE PROVINCE

The EMS Foundation is a proud supporter and the main benefactor of the Overstrand Whale Boxing Club, which is currently located in Zwelihle in Hermanus, a seaside village situated in the Western Cape Province of South Africa.  

We reflect on what seems to be another monumental year in the making as the boxers of the OWBC continue to receive many accolades. 

At the beginning of July two boxers from the Overstrand Whale Boxing Club (OWBC) won medals.  Siyakholwa Nxanti won a Bronze medal and  Siphamandla Damesi a Gold Medal Winner 2022 in the welterweight division of the South African National Boxing Organisation (SANABO)Youth and Elite National Championship. 

In Dunoon in Cape Town, at the end of July, OWBC junior boxers won ten gold medals and six silver medals. 

At the Western Cape Junior Cadet Championship held between the 2nd and 4th of September, in Saldanha, OWBC boxers received six gold medals and one silver medal.  OWBC was voted the second best team in the Province.    The gold medal winners were: Kulunga Ndleleni, Sihle Mathiso, Sihle Mjongile, Nkantliseng Qheya, Nikilitha Gcetywa and Oyama Devese and the silver: Linkokuhle Nkothobe. 

Thirteen year old Kulunga Ndleleni is the best cadet in the Western Cape, images provided by Mgcineni Joel Martins.

Training is one of the toughest aspects of boxing as it requires enormous commitment.  Head CoachMzi Damesi and ensure that boxers are in peak condition before a fight.  

Presently building plans have been submitted to the Overstrand Municipality for approval of the construction of a state of the art boxing club, entirely funded by the EMS Foundation and generously designed by a consortium of international and locally based architects.  

The new OWBC club will be situated on the property of the Hermanus Waldorf School where the EMS Foundation has recently funded the construction of the first high school classrooms. The Hermanus Waldorf High School will be opened to welcome pupils in January 2023. 

©EMS Foundation 2022. All Rights Reserved.

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COMMENTS ON DRAFT WHITE PAPER ON THE CONSERVATION AND SUSTAINABLE USE OF SOUTH AFRICA’S BIODIVERSITY

THE EMS FOUNDATION AND THE WILD LAW INSTITUTE JOINTLY SUBMITTED COMMENTS IN RESPONSE TO THE INVITATION TO COMMENT ON THE DRAFT WHITE PAPER ON THE CONSERVATION AND SUSTAINABLE USE OF SOUTH AFRICA’S BIODIVERSITY.

Overview of comments

We support and applaud the DFFE for having prepared a Draft White Paper which sets out a much needed, progressive vision and policy for conservation based on the ethic of Ubuntu and the recognition that humanity can only flourish in the long-term by conserving the natural systems that support all life, and finding ways to coexist in harmony with Nature.

We have submitted extensive and detailed comments in an effort to strengthen the draft White Paper and eliminate some internal inconsistencies. However, the purpose of this letter is to draw your attention to what we regard as the main issues, so that they are not obscured amidst the detailed comments and overlooked.

Conservation policies and decisions must be guided primarily by ecological and welfare considerations rather than economic considerations
It is very important to avoid framing conservation as the management of a subset of the economy with a view to maximising the extraction of “resources” or “ecosystem services” in order to benefit humanity. Wild species and places are essential to the economy, but are part of ecosystems not the economy. Decisions about wild species and biodiversity must be based on ecological considerations (e.g. what is best for the ecosystem) and welfare considerations (e.g. treating wild animals with respect and without cruelty both for their own sakes and to foster consideration for other species in accordance with the ethic of Ubuntu). Continuing to make conservations decisions on the basis of economic considerations (e.g. maximising the contribution to gross domestic product) will inevitably drive more ecological destruction and biodiversity loss. Human wellbeing, and South Africa’s long term economic interests, are best served by conserving wild species and ecosystems, not by “mining” them.

The value of wild species and ecosystems far exceeds their contribution to the economy

The White Paper must explain that because wild species and the ecosystems they create are essential for life, their value to humanity far exceeds their (significant) contribution to the economy. The draft White Paper emphasises the actual and potential contribution of wild species to economic growth, rather than their more important contribution to maintaining the conditions which enable all forms of life, including humans, to flourish. It is important that the final White Paper emphasizes that that the primary role of conservation is to preserve the ecosystems on which human lives and wellbeing depend (both because of their intrinsic value and their value to humanity) as well as acknowledging the significant contribution of wild species to the economy and livelihoods.

In the past the effectiveness of conservation and environmental protection has been undermined by the (anthropocentric and colonial) misperception and hierarchical logic that humanity is in competition with Nature and that a balance must be struck between what is best for Nature on the one hand and what is best for humanity on the other. In fact, because humans are part of Nature, and human wellbeing is entirely dependent on the functioning of ecosystems (including wild species), protecting Nature is in the best interests of humanity. Prioritising the protection of Nature is the best route to safeguarding humanity. Prioritising the protection of Nature is the best route to safeguarding humanity. This will generate and nurture harmonious coexistence, care, interdependence and positive reciprocity with Nature and the diverse wild organisms within it.  

In order to do so it is important the specific policy measures proposed in the draft White Paper are all aligned with the objective of living in harmony with Nature and oriented towards developing ways for people to co-exist with wild species in ways that contribute to ecosystem integrity, health and functioning.

The importance of a new conservation ethic

We welcome the recognition that a new ethos is necessary to ensure changes not only to what is done, but how things are done, is central to the successful implementation of the White Paper. As indicated, in the White Paper this will require: (a) developing and implementing a new conservation philosophy based on Ubuntu; and (b) changing people’s attitudes to Nature and wild species so that they understand that their conservation is essential to long-term flourishing of humanity and aspire to co- exist harmoniously within Nature instead of simply regarding wild species as merely economic “resources”.

We believe that this merits a separate goal (Ubuntu and harmonious co-existence within Nature is promoted) which focusses on how conservation will be undertaken in future, with an emphasis on applying ethics such as Ubuntu to change how people view, and relate to Nature, and to contribute to ways for people to co-exist with wild species so that life in all its diversity can be sustained and that human wellbeing is increased as a consequence of protecting and restoring natural ecosystems instead of at their expense.

Both the EMS Foundation and WildLaw are committed to contributing to the improvement of wildlife governance and have the necessary skills and experience to enable us to do so. We trust that the attached comments will be of assistance to the Department and Minister when finalising the Policy and look forward to engaging further with the Department and the Minister on this and related matters.

©EMS Foundation 2022. All Rights Reserved.

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COMMENTS ON THE DRAFT SOUTH AFRICAN ‘GAME’ MEAT STRATEGY

Comments submitted by the EMS Foundation on Friday 26th August 2022, in response to the invitation from the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment to comment on the Draft ‘Game’ Meat Strategy (“the Draft Strategy”).

The EMS Foundation is a South African social justice NGO. Our key purpose is to alleviate and end suffering, raise public awareness, empower, provide dignity and promote the interests of vulnerable groups, including wild animals. The EMSF also has a special interest in biodiversity. We support the five interrelated principles of social justice, namely: equity, access, diversity, participation and rights.

The EMS Foundation is cognisant of the entanglements of oppression and we are committed to the promotion of inclusive justice, showing compassion across species and working to build a better future for all through campaigns, research, analysis, advocacy and holding government to account. The EMS Foundation sees access to information, openness, accountability and transparency as the ‘oxygen of democracy’.

We welcome the opportunity to make these comments and trust that they will be of assistance to the Department and the Minister when they reflect on the Draft Strategy.

The EMS Foundation is committed to contributing to the improvement of wildlife governance and have the necessary skills and experience to enable us to do so. We look forward to engaging further with the Department and the Minister on matters related to the Draft Strategy.

We have attempted to be as comprehensive as possible, given the time, resources and other relevant factors and constraints, however we have not responded to every aspect of the Draft Strategy.

Based on all the risks and the direct negative ramifications for biodiversity, ecological restoration and animal well-being, the EMS Foundation objects to the draft strategy and calls on the Minister to withdraw it.

In addition, the Minister should also prohibit the intensive breeding for commercial purposes of any wild fauna, including the indigenous species of wild animals listed in the Animal Improvement Act.

The EMS Foundation submission and comments on the Draft Strategy is also endorsed by the following organisations:

African Climate Alliance
Animal Law Reform South Africa
Animal Rescue Unlimited
Animal Talk Africa
Baboons of the South
Ban Animal Trading
Beauty Without Cruelty (South Africa)
Betty’s Bay Baboon Action Group
Centre for Animal Rehabilitation and Education
Coalition of African Animal Welfare Organisations
Four Paws (SA)
Future 4 Wildlife
Global White Lion Protection Trust
Justice for Animals
Monkey Helpline
Panthera Africa Big Cat Sanctuary
Parliament for the People
Rhinos in Africa
South Peninsula Khoi Council
Southern African Faith Communities Environment Institute (SAFCEI) Southern African Fight for Rhinos
Vervet Monkey Foundation
Vogelgat Private Nature Reserve – South Africa

©EMS Foundation 2022. All Rights Reserved.

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SANBI ANNOUNCES THE DECISION TO RETIRE CHARLIE THE ELEPHANT FROM THE PRETORIA NATIONAL ZOOLOGICAL GARDEN

OFFICIAL STATEMENT

OFFICIAL STATEMENT

The EMS Foundation commends the ground breaking and forward thinking decision reached by SANBI and Minister Barbara Creecy with regard to Charlie. We will continue to offer our unwavering support as we continue our nineteen month transparent process with SANBI to establish the best possible future for Charlie with the support of the elephants experts from the Pro Elephant Network.

Image Credit: EMS Foundation November 2021.

©EMS Foundation 2022. All Rights Reserved.

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