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On the 17th of May 2019, Senzeni Zokwana former Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries made an amendment to the Animal Improvement Act, 1998 (Act No. 62 of 1998) (AIA) to include 33 wild mammal species, to those commonly bred by wildlife ranchers, under Table 7 of these regulations.

The AIA is enacted to provide for the breeding, identification and utilisation of genetically superior animals in order to improve the food production and performance of animals in the interest of the Republic”.

This amendment meant that the 33 species, including black and white rhino, cheetah, giraffe, lion and 28 indigenous and non-indigenous wildlife species were in affect treated in the same manner as farmed animals, in so far as the recognition of breeders rights was concerned. The amendment to include these 33 wild mammal species under Table 7 of the AIA was driven by the wildlife farming industry to grow the wildlife economy.

A judgement in the North Gauteng High Court was published on the 3rd March 2023, where the applicants, Endangered Wildlife Trust and SA Hunters and Game Conservation, sought to set aside decisions to include and list several animals species as Landrace breeds in the Animal Improvement Act 62 of 1998 (“AIA”) the Respondents were the Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, the Registrar of Animal Improvement: Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, the Director: Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, the Minister of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries, the Director General: Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries, Wildlife Producers Association NEO, Wildlife Ranching SA NPO.

These wild species included: Black Wildebeest, Blue Duiker, Blue Wildebeest, Bontebok, Gemsbok, Impala, Oribi, Red Hartebeest, Roan Antelope, Sable Antelope, Springbok, Tsessebe, Rau Quagga Zebra, Cape buffalo, Blesbok, Cape Eland, Kudu, Waterbuck, Nyala, Bosbok, Klipspringer, Common Duker, Red Duiker, Steenbok, Cape Grysbok, Sharp’s Brysbok, Suni, Grey Rhebok, Mountain Reedbuck, Lechwe, Burchell’s Zebra, Cape Mountain Zebra, Hartman’s Mountain Zebra, Giraffe, White Rhinoceros, Black Rhinoceros, Lion, Cheetah, Deer, White-tailed Deer, Red Deer, Fallow Deer, Mule Deer, Roe Deer and Black-tailed Deer.

The COVID_19 pandemic has led to a dramatic loss of human life worldwide and presented an unprecedented challenge to public health and food systems. Many scientists are convinced that SARS-CoV-2 accountable for COVID_19 ordinated from nature. Coronaviruses are common in certain species of wild animals.

Therefore, in the wake of the devastating global cost to life and the world economy brought about by the COVID_19 pandemic, mitigating the risk of future zoonotic spillover should be the highest governmental priority.

The World Health Organisation has suggested that wild animals interaction and consumption are the leading causes of contagious diseases. The attempt therefore to intensify the breeding, slaughtering and consumption of wild animals is ill considered in our opinion.

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