The Minister of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries appointed a “High Level Panel of Experts for the Review of Policies, Legislation and Practices on Matters of Elephant, Lion, Leopard and Rhinoceros Management: Breeding, Hunting, Trade and Handling” (“HLP” or “Panel”) in October 2019. The Panel made a call for submissions from stakeholders on 27 March 2020.
The EMS Foundation (“EMS”) and Animal Law Reform South Africa (“ALRSA”) (hereinafter collectively “we” or “us”) made a formal written submission (the “Submission”) to the HLP on 15 June 2020. We also made a virtual presentation at the public consultation held by the HLP on 6 October 2020 and answered questions orally (the “Oral Presentation”) (collectively our “Submissions”).
In this regard, we wish to refer to Appendix III of our Submission, being a copy of the written submission presented by the South African Institute for Advanced Constitutional, Public, Human Rights and International Law, a centre of the University of Johannesburg (“SAIFAC”) as well as their virtual presentation at the public consultation held by the HLP on 6 October 2020 and their questions answered (“SAIFAC Submission”).
The Secretariat of the HLP sent further questions to EMS and ALRSA at 15h13 on the 20 October 2020. These are reproduced below in bold text. The Panel requested that answers be submitted by 26 October 2020, effectively giving EMS and ALRSA less than 5 working days to formulate further responses to over 15 highly complex questions (the “Questions”). Note that both EMS and ALRSA had other prior commitments particularly at this time and our capacity to respond at this time. In terms of an email from the HLP Secretariat to us dated 25 October 2020, the Panel agreed to accept answers by 2 November 2020.
The answers below therefore constitute a brief and non-exhaustive summary of EMS’ and ALRSA’s position on these issues given the prevailing circumstances at the current time. This document is to be read with our full Submission as well as in the context of the Oral Presentation.
We also wish to note that:
1. We have answered some of these questions in our Submissions;
2. Many of the questions received from the HLP are suggestive of a slant in favour of a pre-determined outcome and against the tenor of our submissions. Some of the questions make assumptions that are simply not accurate; and
3. Reference is made in the questions to “wildlife”. We were under the impression that the HLP was reviewing for “Subject Species” being – lions, elephants, rhinos and leopards.
We are non-profit organisations not mandated to determine all potential solutions to the issues considered by the Panel nor wildlife more generally in South Africa. We have pointed out issues with the current status quo, as well as provided potential solutions which will require further input and consideration. Accordingly, we have attempted to highlight some additional resources for the Panel which may be of assistance in providing further context and information. These are in addition to those included in our Submission and Oral Presentation.
We have included some clarifying points and questions below in order to properly equip us to answer the questions posed. These are indicated as “Clarificatory Question for the Panel:” below.
The disclaimers as contained in our Submission apply equally to this document with the necessary adjustments.
Amy P. Wilson
Animal Law Reform South Africa
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