Posts Tagged ‘South African LION BONE TRADE’

A LOOMING CRISIS – THE CAPTIVE BIG CAT INDUSTRY, COVID_19 AND GOVERNMENT CULPABILITY

An Open Letter to the Minister of the Environment, Forestry and Fisheries Barbara Creecy

25th March 2020

Dear Honourable Minister Creecy,

Since at least as far back as the late 1990s, various NGOs have warned your department about the harmful and negative effects of breeding lions (and other big cats) in captivity. Yet, the South African government has done nothing to slow the growth of the captive lion breeding industry, nor has it given any indication of wanting to do so. This letter lays bare the facts and calls for immediate action.

First, it details the risks embedded in captive lion (and other big cat) breeding and why the industry should be terminated.

Second, we note that letter after letter to your Ministry and Department goes unheeded. It seems that industry voices – those with a vested interest in acquiring short-term benefits from exploitative breeding of lion (and other big cat) cubs for human interaction, canned hunting and the lion bone trade – provide the tune to which the policy fiddle dances.

Finally, tourism – the goose that lays the golden egg in the South African economy – is dead for the foreseeable future. Not only has South Africa’s willingness to supply Asian wildlife markets created zoonotic disease spillover risks, which have led to the need for travel bans, but the imposition of the latter means that thousands of captive lions (and other big cats) will now be left to starve to death without tourism dollars. Had the government acted in 2009 (when a plan was presented to your Department) and when there were far fewer lions (and other big cats) in captivity, this catastrophe would have been avoided.

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CORONA VIRUS – THE EMS FOUNDATION CALLS ON MINISTER CREECY TO END THE LION BONE TRADE

Corona Virus - South Africa Lion Bone Trade - Brent Stirton Photojournalist of the Year South Africa

EMS FOUNDATION APPEALS FOR AN END TO THE TRADE IN LION BONE

Zoonotic diseases, or those contracted by humans that originated in other species, account for a large share of human infectious illnesses. Mixing species of wild animals increases the risk of diseases mutating and growing more virulent as they spread in unregulated markets.

In cities like Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong there is little sign of markets catering to gourmands seeking “ye Wei” or “wild flavours”. But in provincial cities and in some parts of Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia and other South East Asian countries, those determined to eat such exotic dishes can find all sorts of creatures for sale: pangolins, badgers, salamanders scorpions, hedgehogs and wolf puppies.

Lion bones are being used as an alternative to tiger bones in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Tiger Bone Wine has been used in TCM for a thousand years or more for the treatment of rheumatism, although there are no known medicinal properties. Over a thousand lions are killed annually in South Africa for this trade. The trade is not regulated and as is explained in our letter to Minister Creecy there are no health and safety regulations in place. This trade is putting the lives at risk of the South Africans employed in this bizarre trade. As has been clearly demonstrated with the SARS virus and now with the new CORONA virus trading in lion bone with unknown medical consequences is irresponsible to say the least.

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