News

THE BREAKING POINT – UNCOVERING SOUTH AFRICA’S SHAMEFUL LIVE WILDLIFE TRADE WITH CHINA

A SPECIAL REPORT BY: The EMS Foundation and The Ban Animal Trading Organisation

17th May 2020

Introduction

The wild animals within the borders of South Africa are part of the heritage of every South African and we have the right to demand that our government protects wild animals against exploitation and to demand accountability from government as to what it does in this regard. Government is empowered by a cogent body of laws to perform this function and it is obliged to do so by international treaties. It is urgently necessary for government to comply with its responsibilities not only because of the ethical, moral and legal compunction to do so but also because the export of our wild animals for the financial gain of a few has become big business.

South Africa has become the largest exporter of live wild animals to Asia, where many wild animals are killed to extract potions from their carcases and are eaten as delicacies. Some are sent to languish in atrocious zoos. Some are inserted into the murky world of the illegal wildlife trade. The reality is that the South African government fails to apply its strong regulatory powers and by design or neglect allows strikingly large numbers of animals to be exported.

The EMS Foundation and Ban Animal Trading, both NGOs, have investigated the export of a large sample of wild animals to China and their findings are set out in the Breaking Point Report which is hereby released. 

The legal trade with China is extensive, with glaring violations overlooked by authorities and benefits flowing to a few wealthy traders. The legal trade also acts as a cover for illicit trade. CITES legal wildlife trade monitoring systems contain extensive loopholes, gaps and opportunities to launder illegal items into the legal market.

Share

 

WILDLIFE ANIMAL PROTECTION FORUM SOUTH AFRICA SUBMISSION TO THE CHINESE MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE AND RURAL AFFAIRS

IN RESPONSE TO THE CHINESE MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE AND RURAL AFFAIRS OFFER OF PUBLIC CONSULTATION WITH REGARD TO THE NATIONAL CATALOGUE OF ANIMAL GENETIC RESOURCES

7TH MAY 2020

A BRIEF INTRODUCTION TO THE CAPTIVE BREEDING OF WILD ANIMALS IN CHINA

The captive breeding of wild animals and the use of their products for food, clothing and medicine has played an important role in the Chinese culture.

China has shut down domestic wild animal traders on fears that their goods sparked the coronavirus pandemic. China’s National People’s Congress imposed a ban on the sale and consumption of wild animals in the country on the 24th February 2020.

Captive wildlife industries in China have experienced unprecedented growth in recent decades. The Wildlife Animal Protection Forum South Africa, in their invited submission to the Chinese government, has chosen to focus on four such industries:

The Chinese fur industry is the largest in the world. According to International the Fur Federation data, Chinese retail sales of fur are worth nearly US $17 billion per year. The image below shows workers skinning minks at a farm in China. In addition to being a major exporter of mink pelts and garments, China also imports a large number from Europe and North America. Image Credit National Geographic

Share

 

DISTRACTIONS ASIDE, CONSERVATION NEEDS RADICAL CHANGE

WRITTEN BY: Jared Kukura

Dare to criticize the opinions of those promoting the exploitation of wildlife for economic benefit, and you will likely find yourself engulfed in frivolous drama that takes away from the real issues facing conservation. Craig Packer, and many others, know this all too well.

Packer was once Tanzania’s leading lion conservationist with decades of research experience. That is until he was banned from the country for his outspoken criticism of the trophy hunting industry. His criticism was well supported though, his studies showed that trophy hunting was the leading cause of declining lion numbers in his areas of study.

Subsequent research confirmed Packer’s studies and noted lion numbers declined most in areas with short-term hunting leases. The short-term leases were both the most unsustainable and the most profitable for the government (surprise, surprise). Additional research also suggested Tanzania’s policies failed to adequately protect habitat and reduce illegal harvest of other species, leading to continual declines in wildlife numbers.

But, conveniently for Tanzania, trophy hunting is largely portrayed in a positive light when it comes to conserving the country’s wildlife. Trophy hunting, proponents state, protects more land than any other industry and creates economic benefits for rural communities. However, the difference in perspective has less to do with the promotion of trophy hunting’s positives and more to do with the silencing of trophy hunting’s negatives.

Criticism of the trophy hunting industry and Packer’s dismissal, while dramatic, failed to spur changes in Tanzania’s conservation policies. This happens all too often in conservation but it cannot happen now with the wildlife trade considering the implications of the COVID_19 pandemic. The debate over whether we should ban the wildlife trade can be dramatic. But we must ensure the debate goes not detract us from acting and transforming conservation to benefit humans and wildlife.

We are in the midst of a global pandemic likely caused by a virus jumping from wildlife to humans. To date, COVID-19 has killed more than 240,000 people and has ramifications beyond an increasing death toll. Global poverty is expected to rise for the first time in decades because of mandated shutdowns aimed at stopping the spread of the virus.

Share

 

WHO STANDS TO BENEFIT, IF THE WILDLIFE TRADE CONTINUES?

 WRITTEN BY: Jared Kukura

There is a clear divide in the conservation world. Despite most organisations agreeing wildlife trade caused the COVID-19 pandemic, there is no consensus on the path forward.

An open letter released by the Lion Coalition called on the World Health Organisation (WHO) to “release a formal position statement containing clear advice to governments to institute comprehensive and rigorously enforced bans on live wildlife markets and to close down the commercial wildlife trade which poses a risk to public health.”

However, a rebuttal in the form of another open letter addressed to the WHO and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) cautioned against banning wildlife trade. This letter, published by Resource Africa, stated “It is vital that any actions taken are appropriate and lead to socially just outcomes which contribute to – not detract from – the development of economically resilient livelihoods for those hundreds of millions of the world’s most vulnerable who depend on wild resources for their survival.”

On the surface, it sounds like the position taken by Resource Africa’s letter is an appropriate middle ground. They warn not to imperil those impacted most by the current pandemic with a solution that makes their lives even worse. However, the stance taken by the Resource Africa letter fails to grasp a problem inherent in today’s world, economic growth.

Economic growth is not compatible with the conservation of biodiversity. Additionally, people living in rural communities are most at risk of adverse impacts from biodiversity loss and it is clear economic growth is not the answer for improving rural livelihoods.

Promoting wildlife trade as an economic benefit does a disservice to those hundreds of millions of vulnerable people the Resource Africa letter claims to want to help. The Lion Coalition letter has the correct position, we must ban wildlife trade to protect biodiversity and those living in rural communities all around the globe.

Share

 

“Sometimes it Falls Upon a Generation to be Great” Nelson Mandela

Freedom Day South Africa 2020

Ocean View, is a suburb situated in Cape Town in South Africa. It was established in 1968 as a township for “coloured” people who had been forcibly removed from so called “white areas” such as Simon’s Town, Noordhoek, Red Hill, Glencairn by the apartheid government under the Group Areas Act.

On the 5th of March 2020 South Africa confirmed its first coronavirus case and in the weeks that followed the infections were mostly confined to suburban areas and largely involved travellers arriving from Europe, the USA and the United Kingdom.

However that has all changed with the arrival of the virus in crowded urban areas where the access to clean water for hand-washing is scarce and self-quarantine practices are the most challenging.

Share

 

EMS Foundation

PO Box 3018, Honeydew 2040
South Africa
168-304 NPO

Contact Us


info@emsfoundation.org.za

Get Involved

Interested in becoming a Supporter, Partner or Sponsor or want to find out other ways to get involved? Find out more