Lion_Starved_2

The “800 skeletons” – “captive produced lion bone trade under the quota system”

Stephen Wiggins Article, Petition 8 Comments

Petition –  “End the export of captive-bred African lion parts from South Africa“ – Humane Society International

Petition – “URGENT: Stop the Export of 800 Lion Skeletons from South Africa to Asia

Petition – “Lions denied proper protection at CITES CoP17” – Captured in Africa Foundation

Lion bones

 

During the October 2016 Conference of the Parties (CoP17) to the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES),  behind closed doors it was decided to permit a ‘legal’ trade in commercially bred lions to perpetuate with an:

annual export quotas for trade in bones, bone pieces, bone products, claws, skeletons, skulls and teeth for commercial purposes, derived from captive breeding operations in South Africa will be established and communicated annually to the CITES Secretariat.”

On the 25 January 2017, the Republic of South Africa, Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) launched “Public invited to make written submissions on proposed lion export quota to the department in line with CITES requirements.” So, please feel free to review the DEA’s proposals and make your thoughts known on, or before 2 February 2017 deadline for submissions.

 

Via e-mail: [email protected]

Dear Mr Mpho Tjiane,

With regard to the proposed “captive produced lion bone trade under the quota system,” please find comments below for “consideration by the CITES Management Authority and Scientific Authority before the final quota is communicated to CITES Secretariat in March 2017.”

Risk to Wild Lion Populations

There is an obvious risk of any newly sanctioned (Update: yes, lion bone export has been going on for decades via natural and ‘hunted (canned’) lion deaths etc., but this is a proposed formal expansion) captive lion skeleton quota/trade encouraging the increased poaching of wild lions, as others seek to illicitly cash-in on the immoral trade to abate a nonsensical Asian demand for unproven potions.

I understand that there is a proposed “3 year study” to be conducted by the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI), with the “aim to increase the understanding of the lion bone trade in South Africa and the captive lion breeding industry, and will investigate how the trade in captive produced lion bone under a quota system affects wild lion populations“ with an imperative “to inform the Scientific Authority on a sustainable annual quota.”

So, from this statement it is clear that any risk to wild lion populations of the “captive produced lion bone trade under the quota system” is going to be taken regardless of any inevitable, or even perceived risk – a fait accompli. If/when it is found during this ‘lion skeleton trade quota’ experiment that wild lions are being poached in higher numbers, then what mitigating, or remedial action is proposed?  Will the “captive produced lion bone trade under the quota system” be curtailed if certain wild lion poaching limits are breached and if so, what are these pre-determined thresholds, or is that not going to even be considered and stated in advance? Of course, the option to take a zero trade quota would not put wild lions at such risk in the first place from this causal source.

What consideration has been given to the risk that “captive produced lion bone trade under the quota system” has even remotely predictable market dynamics?

There is a concern that the assumption that ‘legal’ wildlife trade can always be predicted and controlled to meet demand is not borne out by history, or by independent academic study. For example, the ivory trade and the ‘legal’ supply from ivory stockpiles has arguably done nothing but perpetuate demand and unsustainable poaching levels that seek to cash-in. Based on CITES  (MIKE) data, African elephant poaching might be stabilising (2015 data), but not at a level that will allow elephant population numbers to recover.

The objective of Alejandro Nadal’s and Francisco Aguayo’s 2014 paper (“Leonardo’s Sailors: A Review of the Economic Analysis of Wildlife Trade“) was to “…evaluate the scope and limitations of the economic analysis of wildlife trade that has been carried out in the past three decades.” A few extracts sum up this paper’s hard hitting assessment of the use of ‘misguided’ economic theory when applied to the wildlife trade:

The pro-market argument starts from the premise that poaching and illegal trade are a consequence of trade bans imposed by bodies like CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora).“

One of the most striking features in the economic analysis of wildlife trade is the level of misinformation concerning the evolution of market theory over the last six decades. To anyone who comes in contact with the corpus of literature on wildlife trade, and in particular the literature recommending the use of market-based policies, the uncritical use of theoretically discredited analytical instruments is a striking revelation. Perhaps the most important issue here is the conviction that markets behave as self-regulating mechanisms that smoothly lead to equilibrium allocations and therefore to economic efficiency. This belief is not sustained by any theoretical result, a fact that is well known in the discipline since at least the early seventies.

How will the proposed trade quota for ‘captive’ lion skeletons be monitored for adherence to lion skeletons being sourced from ‘captive’ lions only as stipulated by CITES? This CITES stipulation implies a categorical, independently verifiable distinction needs to be made between ‘captive’ and ‘wild’ lion skeletons/bones submitted for ‘trade’ that cannot be fraudulently manipulated.

There is a proposal within the DEA’s 25 January 2017 overview stating:

  • Lion “Skeletons will be packed separately at source (CBO/hunting farm), weighed, tagged and a DNA sample will be taken”; and
  • The lion skeleton “Consignment [is] to be inspected (and weighed) and permit endorsed at port of exit; random DNA samples will be collected.”

In order for proposed DNA samples to be of value, then the entire captive lion population needs to be independently DNA sampled, catalogued and managed on a database that can be scrutinised publically. Then, perhaps there can be credibility established behind any proposal to take DNA samples of consignments to ensure consignments match verified ‘captive’ bred lions. However, to mitigate against any laundering of poached ‘wild’ lions, then the consignment sampling would need to be 100% – any ‘random’ approach just opens up potential loop-holes, inviting corruption to exploit the void.

The ‘Captive’ Lion Skeleton Quota Market

Within South Africa, there are reportedly 200 breeding farms housing some 8,000 lions. How will these lion ‘farmers’ selling into any CITES’ perpetuated capped ‘skeleton’ market decide how any quota will be divided between all these lion ‘farmers’ and their suggested stock of some 8,000 lions? With the proposed quota of 800 skeletons per annum, that’s 4 lions per farm……..or is there a more elaborate market mechanism proposed?  Will this ‘lion skeleton market’ mechanism be based upon:

  • Lowest bidder submissions – ie. The lion farmer that can supply lion skeletons at the lowest cost wins. If so, this will inevitably negatively impact money spent on ‘acceptable’ captive lion stock welfare, as the captive industry is based purely on profit and income;
  • First come, first served – ie. There will be a rush for lion farmers to kill lions to supply the market before the quota is filled. Is this likely to advocate humane action, or a mass scramble to cash-in before the quota gate closes?
  • Some other approach….

What consideration has been given to potential ‘quota’ market dynamics and the potential negative risk to animal welfare?

Regulatory Oversight and Animal Welfare

At the moment, the regulatory oversight/compliance of the entire captive breeding industry is questionable.

How will welfare standards be independently verified within the captive lion breeding industry if/when such a skeleton quota is introduced?

When the South African Environment Minister tried to enforce a 24 month wilding rule (under Threatened or Protected Species Regulations) to ensure no previously captive (’canned’) lion or big cat could be ‘hunted’ unless it had be freed from captivity for 24 months, or more, the Predator Breeders Association (PBA) (the PBA supplies the ‘canned’ industry) sued the Environment Minister for this attempted regulation of their activities, but the PBA lost in the South African High Court.

However, after the PBA applied to the South African Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA), the SCA ruled  (Case No. 72/10, 29 November 2010) in November 2010 (of its own volition, “mero motu”), that ‘since no captive bred lions have ever been released back into the wild, then lion farming had nothing to do with conservation.’ Therefore, in the SCA’s view, the Environment Minster had no jurisdiction to impose welfare restrictions on what was essentially being declared animal ‘farming.’

‘Farming’ logically forms part of the Republic of South Africa’s Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) remit, with its stated aim “to manage the risks associated to animal health” in accordance with the Animals Protection Act, 1962 (Act No. 71 of 1962) – how and when will this Act be applied to captive lion and predator breeding by the DAFF, or is the DEA still “liaising” (ref: DEA, Para 9 ‘Questions and Answers’) on this issue?

Since the 2010 SCA ruling, the DEA has maintained a limited oversight of the burgeoning captive predator breeding industry. The breeding of lions and other big cats in captive (‘canned’) breeding facilities within South Africa and its many Provinces, requires the issuing of a “Permit” in accordance with section 57(1) of National Environmental Management:  Biodiversity  Act,  2004  (Act  No.  10 of  2004)  (NEMBA).

The registration of any captive (‘canned’) breeding facility is compulsory in terms of South Africa’s ‘Threatened or Protected Species’ (TOPS) regulations and legislation, with TOPS compliance overseen by the DEA.

Each ‘Province’ in South Africa has their own specifics under Province Ordinances, Regulations and Notice Sections. The Province is allowed a great deal of flexibility by the DEA to set standards for captive enclosures, eg. minimum hunting enclosure sizes and how long after being tranquilised an animal victim can then be ‘hunted’ etc.

The DEA’s own ‘Questions and Answers’ section states that the “Provincial conservation authorities are mandated in terms of their provincial legislation to regulate the manner in which lions are kept” in accordance with Section 10(1) of the Animals Protection Act 1962 (Act No. 71 of 1962):

(a) the method and form of confinement and accommodation of any animal or class, species or variety of animals, whether travelling or stationary;

(b) any other reasonable requirements which may be necessary to prevent cruelty to or suffering of any animal; and

(c) the seizure, impounding, custody or confining of any animal due to any condition of such animal, the disposal  or  destruction  of  such  animal  and  the  recovery  of  any  expenses  incurred  in  connection therewith from the owner of such animal.

But in just one example, the Walter Slippers’ case (Africa Geographic, 8 July 2016) this captive breeding facility in Limpopo Province housed emaciated lions even before any potential lowest bidder, skeleton capped quota market has been introduced. This example has instilled a lack of faith in the DEA’s/DAFF’s/Provincial regulatory oversight of the captive lion/predator breeding industry from an animal welfare perspective that needs to be urgently addressed, or the industry declared beyond redemption.

Of course, there is the option for lion farmers to voluntarily apply for membership to the South African Predator Association (SAPA) – a self-declared arbiter of industry standards funded privately by the industry itself, so hardly an independent reassurance. Therefore, the SAPA should not be considered a substitute for official regulatory oversight. So where has that reassurance been historically, or where is it likely to manifest in the future to provide reassurance that animal welfare is currently managed, or even a consideration in the “captive produced lion bone trade under the quota system” proposals?

Conclusions

These initial points and risks need “consideration by the CITES Management Authority and Scientific Authority before the final quota is communicated to CITES Secretariat in March 2017” before even the remotest ‘faith’ can be established in another proposed market expansion based on animal exploitation, to meet a nonsensical demand for profit (and everyone is expected to pretend it is acceptable).

As the renowned body of scientists, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) concluded in September 2016 “the prohibition by the South African Government on the capture of wild lions for breeding or keeping in captivity“ and “terminating the hunting of captive-bred lions (Panthera leo) and other predators and captive breeding for commercial, non-conservation purposes.

As the South African Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) ruled  in November 2010 ‘since no captive bred lions have ever been released back into the wild, then lion farming had nothing to do with conservation.’

No matter what attempts are made by the captive breeding industry and its supporters to try and create and perpetuate an illusion, no one not profiting from the captive breeding industry is fooled by any current, or proposed practices:

  • A captive bred lion ‘could’ one day perhaps be successfully (by independent assessment) be released into the wild; or
  • The income generated from the captive breeding industry somehow aids lion species conservation – if so, where is the independent scientific proof that the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, the IUCN and others seek?

Captive lion breeding and the “captive produced lion bone trade under the quota system” proposed is nothing but profiteering “for commercial, non-conservation purposes” and is scientifically unproven as “a risk-averse intervention” as claimed by the DEA.

Update 16 February 2017 (background):

No the export of lion bones is nothing new:

The lion bone trade from South Africa is conducted almost entirely with Laos and Vietnam. CITES trade records show that while there was no bone trade before 2008, the quantity of items in this trade has increased dramatically. During the five years 2010-2014 South Africa exported 1,555 kg of bones, 2,886 individual bones and 3,018 skeletons to Laos and Vietnam. The totals were most likely higher as evidence has come to light that such exports are frequently under-reported. These sorts of numbers indicate that the proposed quota is not much higher than the existing volume of exports.”

However, it is important to consider the source of this proposed export. In the past, such bones were largely provided as by-products from trophy hunting of captive bred lions. While such hunting provided many carcasses (an average of 862 per annum from 2006-2014), recent changes in legislation and increased global public condemnation indicate that there will be a significant reduction in such trophy hunts in the future” – Lion Aid

Wild CRU has stated:

“[African] lions are in crisis…..Their numbers have been devastated by loss of habitat and wild prey, poaching, conflict with farming communities, unsustainable legal hunting, and emerging threats including the use of lion bones in traditional Asian medicine. Lions are being killed daily in Africa.

Based upon feedback in ‘comments’ below, let’s be clear “independent assessment” means independent academic, scientifically proven rewilding.

The captive breeding industry has had literally decades to prove any ‘conservation’ credentials, but through its own machinations, resisted at every turn, because it would imply effective regulation of the industry’s activities and dent the industry’s ability to exploit and profit (or resistance for some other unknown, inexplicable reason, but I doubt it).

The best ‘example’ Professor Pieter JJS Potgieter (ex-president of the SAPA) could come up with in his March 2016 piece “9 myths about captive-bred-lions“ was to cite Elsa the lioness as the key example of successful rehabilitation (one example from the 1960s duly noted). Elsa’s rehabilitation was of course the theme of the 1966 ‘Born Free’ film and the Professor states “Elsa the lioness made the transition from pet lion to wild lion mama pretty easily.” However, according to Professor Pieter JJS Potgieter “There are numerous cases where captive-bred lions have successfully made the transition to become wild lions. And they did it with little fuss and with little if any coaxing. Currently there are two studies of note, one on captive-bred lions in the wild in Zambia and another in the Zambezi River region,” but he failed to provide any independent citations.

Rewilding is anything but easy, to imply otherwise is to obfuscate – lion dynamics in their natural environment – wild lions live in strong prides structures, highly territorial, complex social interactions, hunt over wide territory, hunt their own prey, have the risks and challenges of such a wild, natural existence – all of that is (obviously) denied the lion/big cats species when bred in confinement for commercial purposes.

The SAPA in its sudden and dubious epiphany (a self-interested ‘business’ ambition) to re-invent itself as some kind of pseudo -‘conservation’ effort by demonstrating rewilding is a late awakening from past wrong-doing– the suspected motivation is of course, the lack of genuine conservation credentials is denting the captive industry’s bottom line.

How much did the Predator Breeding Association (PBA) (superseded by the SAPA) recently (2010) care about any captive lion having a chance to be wild? When the South African Environment Minister tried to enforce a 24 month wilding rule (under Threatened or Protected Species Regulations) to ensure no previously captive (’canned’) lion or big cat could be ‘hunted’ unless it had be freed from captivity for 24 months, or more, the PBA sued the then Environment Minister for this attempted regulation of their activities.

There is no ‘believable’ altruistic, conservation endeavour in the SAPA/captive breeding industry, which has always been about farming product for profit. The only recent, plausible motivation for the SAPA/captive breeding industry to try and prove any ‘conservation’ credentials is because the truth of the lack of ‘conservation’ credentials has dented the captive breeding industry’s business model (with canned lion hunting trophy import restriction because there is no proven conservation element/contribution).

Any disingenuous goading, seeking others opposed in principle (on moral, ethical grounds) to captive breeding to come help verify any such SAPA rewilding demonstrations “are conservation” is to ask those opposed, to actively help the SAPA in attempt to reinstitute the trophy killing of ‘canned’ lions for USA (France, The Netherlands, Australia…all ban trophy imports) hunters and the potentially unrestricted importation of such trophies.

Any other SAPA attempt to offset killing captive lions for fun/profit via donations to real conservation, is to try and off-set wrong-doing via a cheque-book (a deceit).

Does the SAPA believe there is a crisis with wild lions? According to Professor Pieter JJS Potgieter (ex-President, SAPA) the African lion’s imminent extinction is clearly ‘nonsense:’

The lion population is stable at between 20,000 and 30,000 cats world-wide” – Prof Pieter JJS Potgieter (SAPA ex-President), “9 myths about captive-bred-lions,“ March 2016

Of course, anyone that thinks differently is an ‘over-emotional’ “alarmist.” Exuding all the charm he could muster, The Professor singled out Virginia McKenna (of ‘Born Free’ fame) for a patronising put-down based on The Professor’s superior wisdom:

Relax, love, your alarm is misplaced………The lion will continue to roar long after Virginia McKenna’s final screech of alarm” – Prof Pieter JJS Potgieter (SAPA ex-President), “9 myths about captive-bred-lions,“ March 2016

The SAPA’s/Professor’s ‘wild lion population stability’ delusions are not widely shared (reference “9 myths about captive-bred-lions“), but regardless this suggests that the SAPA’s sudden epiphany is not based on an understanding of the need for lion conservation. So how can the SAPA’s current motives for ‘conservation’ credentials be anything but a self-interested ‘business’ ambition to recover income from captive lions?

Further Reading:

Zero confidence in SA’s lion farming & lion bone trade,” Captured in Africa Foundation, SABC, 29 January 2017

Permission to drink a lion,” Don Pinnock, Daily Maverick, 1 February 2017

Panthera Statement on South Africa’s Proposed Quota for Lion Skeleton Exports and Its Impact on Wild Lion Populations,” Panthera, 1 March 2017

 

CACH

Campaign Against Canned Hunting – “LION BONES TO ASIA”

Despite indicating that it will give permits for 800 lion skeletons, without the slightest pretence of scientific enquiry, the SA government has belatedly called for public participation.

Herewith our input to the South African government on the issue of export of lion bones to Asia.

Dear Mr Tijiane,

We should like to add our support for the points made by wildlife documentary film producer Karl Amman, motivating for a zero quota for all lion body parts, wild and captive bred. In particular, he stresses the following arguments:

Most of the key importers, in Laos and Vietnam, of lion bone from South Africa are well known wildlife dealers who are involved in a wide range of wildlife trafficking activities going beyond bones. (Previously most exports were going via Mr. Vixay Keosavang but now new Vietnamese players with operations in Laos are involved)

Cross border trafficking is based on a well-established bribe price per 100 kg of any such commodity, with all the lion bones having been imported into Laos ending up going across the border into Vietnam or via Boten into China. All these onward shipments are in contravention of CITES rules.

Dealers are captured on camera saying that none of their clients can tell the difference between a lion and a tiger skeleton and as such it is very easy to sell lion bones, teeth and claws as coming from tigers. The end consumers of all these lion bone products are thus being defrauded.

These are just some of the down the line consequences relating to the lion bone export. There is no doubt that the trade further enriches criminals deeply involved in a wide range of illegal wildlife trade activities.

Making wildlife trafficking more profitable clearly encourages more of the same. (some of these dealers have already approached Tanzanian professional hunters offering to buy their lion bones).

SA lion farms sell a full skeleton for U$ 1800. At the time Karl Amman published a full analysis of the value chain for lion skeletons from the farm in South Africa to the consumer of tiger cake in Vietnam.  Clearly South Africa is a minor beneficiary and it is the traffickers who make all the big money.

800 skeletons a year at U$ 1800 for a complete set is less than U$ 1.5 million income per annum. In terms of a cost and benefit analysis, this policy can not be justified.

Chris Mercer

 

Campaign Against Canned Hunting.

Comments 8

  1. Rooi Jan.

    It is straightforward to make sure that only captive-bred lion skeletons make it into the quota: restrict it to captive-bred lions which are hunted. A captive-bred lion requires a permit to be hunted. One permit, one skeleton. As for lions being released into the wild, it is not a matter of “one day.” There are a number of demonstrations being carried out right now which involve captive-bred lions being released into the wild. All these lions are thriving, hunting and mating. As for financial contributions, it is estimated that the captive-bred lion hunting industry will contribute R9,000.000-00 to predator conservation groups this year. Nothing to sneeze at, eh?

    1. Post
      Author
      Stephen Wiggins

      “It is straightforward to make sure that only captive-bred lion skeletons make it into the quota: restrict it to captive-bred lions which are hunted. A captive-bred lion requires a permit to be hunted. One permit, one skeleton.”

      What reassurance is there that any ‘captive lion skeleton’ submitted for the quota was actually hunted? There is no independent oversight of any given captive-lion hunt – the Provinces do not attend and oversee every hunt (if any) – the “permit” you assign such provenance could be attached to ‘any’ lion skeleton and we would only have the ‘word’ of the captive lion operator to go on – that’s clearly open to corruption and deceit, the industry’s usual modus operandi. Furthermore, no one is fooled that any DNA database approach (as proposed by the DEA) to oversee this ‘captive-lion skeleton quota’ experiment would not be subject to similar corrupting forces to mask illicit activity.

      “As for lions being released into the wild, it is not a matter of “one day.” There are a number of demonstrations being carried out right now which involve captive-bred lions being released into the wild. All these lions are thriving, hunting and mating.“

      If you re-read the article and try to comprehend the distinction made, it says successful rewilding of captive lions “by independent assessment” – independent academic, scientifically proven rewilding , not some self-interest driven, publicity seeking endeavour by the SAPA and its members to try to delude anyone that the South African Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) ruling in November 2010 can be circumvented – ‘since no captive bred lions have ever been released back into the wild, then lion farming had nothing to do with conservation.’ The South African Predator Association’s (SAPA’s) on-going “demonstrations” (anything but independent then) to which you refer are a vain attempt by the captive lion/predator breeding industry to try to garner some kind of credible conservation platform, when the industry is based on anything but conservation. Can you cite a single, independent, academic, scientifically proven case of a captive bred lion being successfully re-wilded – ie. a once South African captive bred lion now successfully forming part of wild pride structure?

      The best ‘example’ Professor Pieter JJS Potgieter (ex-president of the SAPA) could come up with in his pathetic March 2016 piece “9 myths about captive-bred-lions“ (https://iwbond.org/2016/03/29/9-myths-about-captive-bred-lions/) was to cite Elsa the lioness as the key example of successful rehabilitation (one example from the 1960s duly noted). Elsa’s rehabilitation was of course the theme of the 1966 ‘Born Free’ film and the Professor states “Elsa the lioness made the transition from pet lion to wild lion mama pretty easily” – rewilding is anything but:

      ‘Captive’ lions/big-cats are hand reared and fed, often poorly bred from a limited gene pool, with many not strong enough to survive in the wild. Wild lions exist in strong pride structures. Any disruption to a given pride, or territory disputes between an established pride and a ‘new’ pride can be devastating. So, the chances of any successful, or risk free reintroduction of any ‘canned’ or indeed ‘ranch’ stock into the wild is pure fantasy.

      However, according to Professor Pieter JJS Potgieter (ex-president of the SAPA) “There are numerous cases where captive-bred lions have successfully made the transition to become wild lions. And they did it with little fuss and with little if any coaxing. Currently there are two studies of note, one on captive-bred lions in the wild in Zambia and another in the Zambezi River region,” but he failed to provide any independent citations.

      Perhaps you are going to refer to Bubye Valley Conservancy, but this is a large conservancy (not without problems) based in Zimbabwe, so not wild lions and not within South Africa duly noted.

      “As for financial contributions, it is estimated that the captive-bred lion hunting industry will contribute R9,000.000-00 to predator conservation groups this year. Nothing to sneeze at, eh?”

      Please explain any independently verifiable contribution (not claims by the industry) directly attributed to conservation of the wild lion species? The figure you have quoted does not actually sound like much of a percentage of the total amount pocketed by the industry itself by the way.

      No one outside of the captive breeding cartel is duped by, or believes any of the illogical nonsense you have espoused to support the industry – you can try and dress it up and justify it any way you want, but the whole captive predator breeding industry is based upon pure animal exploitation for profiteering.

      1. Rooi Jan.

        Ah, Steve, you are wrapping the noose ever more tightly around the neck of your arguments.

        Let’s get this straight: Your entire argument is based on three main points:

        – Wild lion bones can be substituted for captive-bred lion bones because the DEA is too inept to monitor the hunters.
        – Claims that captive-bred lions have been successfully released into the wild are to be disbelieved until verified.
        – The captive-bred lion hunting industry’s financial contribution to conservation cannot be confirmed.

        What I need to know is, if it is proven that captive-bred lions can, and have been released into the wild, will you acknowledge it openly and publicly?
        And if SAPA can produce proof of payment to conservation organizations, will you acknowledge that openly and publicly?

        In fact, the release of such lions have been monitored and verified by an objective observer: me. I am not a hunter and do not own lions or any other game. I just wanted to see for myself. So I did. Now I know you will squirm away from this statement by bringing my objectivity and/or honesty into disrepute, but I know what I know. And I know that your cherished objection is about to crumble to dust.

        Stand by for proof of payment.

        As for your “laundering” theory – is this what you are proposing? The bone-smuggling fiend sets out to in dastardly fashion swap out the bones of a wild lion for those of a non-existent captive-bred cat. He obtains a permit from Northwest Province to hunt one lion. He pays SAPA’s tag fee of R10,000. He then hotfoots it to the Kruger National Park and poaches a lion. He smuggles the entire carcass out to where he can butcher it. He sneaks back to Northwest and inserts the skeleton into the quota. All of this while he has plenty of lions on his farm. Nothing like a juicy bit of conspiracy theory, is there?

        You know what I find ridiculous? It is that you guys are all want to be these dramatic investigative journalist bods, snooping around with Mission Impossible-type spy gadgets and cameras, like real little PETA operatives. Meanwhile, all you need to do to get to the bottom of the captive-bred lion industry, is to phone up a lion farmer and go there. That’s what I did. These are genial, straightforward, open people. They have nothing to hide. They will show you around and let you get your little James Bond rocks off.

        Of course you will not do it. Your style is to sit somewhere cozy and safe and take pot shots from afar. And that is why you will lose the argument. You just don’t have the gonads. Not you or Mercer or Michler or any of the other brave little sleuths.

        And, oh yes, the Professor completely demolished you with his article. Owned you. 100%.

        Take care now.

        Rooijan Jansen

      2. Post
        Author
        Stephen Wiggins

        Rooijan, I doubt there is any ‘independence’ in your lobbying, but putting that concern aside:

        ”Wild lion bones can be substituted for captive-bred lion bones because the DEA is too inept to monitor the hunters.”

        Absolutely, laundering is inevitable – as Mark Jones, Associate Director at Born Free, said: “The moratorium on commercial exports from wild lions is of course welcome. However, by leaving open the door for captive lion breeding facilities to sell their lion bones, CITES Parties have failed to protect lions and other big cats from this heinous trade. Bones from hunted or poached wild lions and other endangered big cats will doubtless be laundered into trade, while captive breeders will continue to speed-breed lions and condemn them to short, miserable lives in commercial breeding facilities.”

        As for the “laundering” theory – you are talking about obtaining pieces of paper as proof and inputs on a database – all obtainable for payment. Even if a lion ‘captive’ skeleton is selling for $2,000, why kill valued captive commodity if a wild lion skeleton (smuggled in from outside of South Africa even) can be poached and successfully substituted for free/less – the temptation and opportunity will always be there.

        Plus, if/when demand rises as a result of the quota, then poaching has the potential to increase as a stand-alone illicit trade. Of course, you will say, then raise the captive quota, but the cautionary approach would be to not provide a causal link in the first place, ie. a zero quota and not risk an exponential rise in demand.

        Hence the need for 100%, independent scrutiny of any trade (which does not/will not exist) – The DEA/Provinces do not have the manpower, commitment or backing to oversee every activity on captive breeding facilities/hunts now, let alone any market expansion. The DEA has no solid grasp of exactly how many captive breeding farms there are and how they operate, but you want everyone to believe all breeders are “genial, straightforward, open people” and “they have nothing to hide” more than willing to “show you around and let you get your little James Bond rocks off.“

        Then why was there so much hostility toward Blood Lions’ investigation and exposé of the captive industry then during and after its release? “Nothing to hide,” but you seemed to have overlooked the deceit of cubs bred for petting, duped tourists and duped volunteers to look after the cubs, then the cubs eventually fed into the line to be hunted and killed for profit, ‘canned’ lions shot from vehicles (illegal – I have such activity on video)…… Deceit and hiding things is the captive industry’s modus operandi.

        All your name calling and insinuations (James Bond nonsense) does nothing to distract, or deflect from that reality.

        The flawed assumption you have made (and trade proponents such as CITES makes) is that wildlife trade can quell demand and thus control demand. This is based on simplistic economics, especially when seeking to counter and control highly organised criminal syndicates’ activities. At best, it’s borderline naïve, at worst it’s purposely overlooking the downside risks because the income from participating in such trade is so tempting. One only has to look at the attempts made to control the ivory trade through the CITES approved release of ivory stockpiles post-1989 – elephant poaching today is worse than ever and illicit trade easily infiltrates and is laundered through so-called ‘legal’ mechanisms.

        So, your wilful assumption that any lion bone trade quota will be 100% beyond illicit activity is at best naïve (but most likely driven by the lure of income that will be generated from the trade).

        “Claims that captive-bred lions have been successfully released into the wild are to be disbelieved until verified.“

        Absolutely, no credibility until “independent” verification is/if provided – not you and your claims to be that ‘independent’ one man source that has “monitored and verified” as “an objective observer,” or some other SAPA lobbyist, but an independent scientific, academic study that is open for critical evaluation by a forum of cross-party interest – which to have any wider credibility needs to include the very organisations you wish to deride (“Mercer” – Campaign Against Canned Hunting (CACH) and “Michler” – Blood Lions).

        However, why would organisations such as the CACH and/or Blood Lions wish to assist the SAPA in its self-interested ambition to re-invent itself as some kind of pseudo -‘conservation’ effort? There is no altruistic, conservation endeavour in the SAPA/captive breeding industry, which has always been about farming product for profit. The only recent motivation for the SAPA/captive breeding industry to try and prove any ‘conservation’ credentials is because the truth of the lack of ‘conservation’ credentials has dented the captive breeding industry’s business model (with ‘canned’ lion hunting trophy import restriction because there is no scientifically proven conservation element/contribution).

        “The captive-bred lion hunting industry’s financial contribution to conservation cannot be confirmed.”

        Of course, transparency is key – but trying to garner ‘conservation’ credentials to offset the captive breeding industry’s lack of ‘conservation’ credentials merely by the captive breeding industry buying its way out is really a shallow deceit, an attempt to try and offset the wrongdoing and lack of inherent ‘conservation’ proof via a cheque-book. If there was any genuine (altruistic) concern for real ‘conservation,’ then this would have been part of the captive breeding industry’s remit from decades back, but every attempt to try (ie. the release into the wild of any canned lion for two years prior to it being hunted) was successfully resisted by the industry itself.

        When the South African Environment Minister tried to enforce a 24 month wilding rule (under Threatened or Protected Species Regulations) to ensure no previously captive (’canned’) lion or big cat could be ‘hunted’ unless it had be freed from captivity for 24 months, or more, the Predator Breeders Association (PBA) sued the Environment Minister for this attempted regulation of their activities. That’s how much the PBA (now the SAPA) recently (2010) cared about any captive lion having a chance to be wild.

        Of course, if any person/hunter had any real conservation motive, then they could release payments directly to conservation work, with no need to kill a caged, or any other lion and then try to offset the lack of ‘conservation’ value via a cheque-book.

        So, send all the ‘proof’ of the SAPA’s cheque-book conservation efforts you want, but all the SAPA is doing is trying to offset, gain publicity and try to circumvent ‘canned’ lion trophy import restrictions (restrictions due to a direct lack of conservation value by the activity of ‘canned’ hunting and breeding itself). I will not help perpetuate that deceit.

        All you and the SAPA are trying to do is the same principle as any abuser trying to offset their wrong-doing by donating to a charity for their victims’ greater good.

        “And, oh yes, the Professor completely demolished you with his article. Owned you. 100%.”

        I assume you mean the IWB article – “Canned Hunting, The ‘End Game’” – https://iwbond.org/2016/08/18/canned-hunting-the-end-game/ and the third party accusation originally contained within, but withdrawn in an update to the article made 16 September 2016 –

        “The third party accusations previously made and repeated in this article have been strongly denied. The third party source is apparently reinvestigating – in the meantime the accusations have been removed.”

        I agree with the Professor, the original third-party content was not sufficiently investigated and substantiated, hence why it was immediately withdrawn when the third-party source came back to me and raised their own concerns.

        Not sure what you mean by “owned you”….humans owning humans is called slavery isn’t it?

        Rooijan, to be honest, I don’t think you are doing your own ‘independent’ credibility, or the SAPA, captive breeding industry’s credibility (assuming one believes it has any) by coming on here and deriding people – “You just don’t have the gonads. Not you or Mercer or Michler or any of the other brave little sleuths” – you make yourself look like the swaggering playground bully the captive breeding industry seems to attract.

        Of course, I don’t agree with “And that is why you will lose the argument” – the arguments made to counter are strong, otherwise why would you feel the need to lash out, or even respond? The only thing that keeps the captive breeding industry going it the lure of income by everyone involved, not the strength of yours or the industry’s deluded/self-interest driven ‘arguments.’ Of course, if supported by a government equally attracted to the lure of income (and forget the negative impacts, or moral imperative etc.) then the “antis’”/”greenies’” arguments are not given due consideration, but public opinion has a way of valuing such corruption for not looking beyond the lure of $$$$$.

        PS. Rooijan, if and when you want to write back, can you also drop the sinister analogies/threats please – “nooses” and “neck” for example (it adds nothing to the points you think you are making and makes you seem a bit macabre) – and of course, anyone is able to freely comment on the captive breeding industry based on whatever data is out there – Blood Lions for example, so your assertion of a need for spy cameras etc. is a bit unnecessary, realistic footage is already available thank you.

        1. Rooi Jan.

          Stephen,
          Thank you for your response. It is refreshing to debate matters with a leftist who does not summarily descend to insults and threats. That be said, you do seem to question my integrity and character by imputing all kinds of dark motives to me. I can assure you, I am a disinterested bystander. I do not hunt and I do not own a single lion, nor do I patronize lion parks or establishments which offer cub petting or walking with lions. My sole concern is for the lions and their survival. You have your strategy; I happen to support an entirely different strategy.

          And so, on to the subject of the lion bones. What you are trying to stymie is a legal business consisting of the legal exploitation of a resource. I can understand the distaste you as an animal rights activist have in it, but there it is. You talk loose and fast about morals, ethics and duties. Well, it is immoral and unethical to unduly interfere with another man’s business. Your response would be that you have a duty towards animals which are cruelly treated, and I will concede that you do have that right. However, a ranch lion which is carefully bred, decently cared for and swiftly killed, suffers no more than any beef cow, mutton sheep or, for that matter, a sardine or chicken which is killed to be eaten. If you are willing to take on the entire meat-eating population of the world and project them as not much more than cannibals, well just speak your mind, and the discourse will take on an entirely different complexion.
          Your other smoke-and-mirrors objection is that a trade in the bones of captive-bred lions will somehow threaten the population of wild lions in South Africa. My standpoint is that there is a simple arrangement which will prevent that. Let the South African Predator Association regulate and audit the process. They have instituted a tag system for their members. Any lion which is hunted or offered to a hunter by a SAPA member will have to obtain a tag which will cost R10,000. This money will be donated to conservation outfits. The result will be easy to monitor: one tag, one set of bones to be exported. If 611 tags are sold in a given year, no more than 611 sets of bones may be exported.

          Can some crook sneak a set of wild lion bones into the consignment? It is possible, yes. But first of all he will need a government permit to hunt a lion as well as a very expensive tag. Here is what you are proposing an unscrupulous ranch lion owner will do: he will obtain a permit and then he will buy a tag. He will then drive, most often hundreds of kilometres, to probably the Kruger National Park, where the majority of South Africa’s wild lions are. He will contrive to poach a lion, taking an enormous risk. Then he will drive all the way back and have the lion butchered to get the skeleton which he will then present as being derived from a legitimate hunt. And for what profit? Well, lion bones currently sell at $1,500 per set, which is, with today’s exchange rate, exactly R20,075.10. Deduct his expenses for that and he will make paltry few thousand rand from it.
          Now if you think a farmer will go to all that trouble and take those enormous risks for a few thousand rand, you do not understand agriculture and you definitely do not comprehend the nature of the farmer. The entire lion-bones-laundering rubbish is just that: rubbish.

          You drag cub petting into this discussion. Well, not one of the farmers I got to know and whose facilities I investigated tolerate cub petting or even pet the cubs of their own lions.
          But you did mention Blood Lions. Oh, Blood Lions – what a wicked, tawdry piece of work that is. I was a bystander in this entire squabble, but when I saw Blood Lions I recognized it for the dishonest, trashy hit piece it was. This is not journalism; this is propaganda, and not very subtle propaganda at that. Which immediately triggered the question: if they need to jiggle and juggle the facts like this, what is the truth? This led to my personal investigation into the matter. It is a shameful product and a person like Andrew Venter, for whom I had some regard, irredeemably sullied his reputation by being associated with such a deceitful sham. If I were you, I would not look to Blood Lions to support any facts or arguments.

          Which brings us, once again, to your side’s overly confident and almost sacred doctrine that a captive-bred lion cannot be released, unless with the greatest fuss, into the wild. Now see, when I said you do not have the gonads to investigate this matter, I did not mean to insult you. I meant it as a fact. You just do not have the courage to go and have a look, and I’ll tell you why: if you did, your entire opposition strategy will unravel. You would have to admit that the ranch lion has tremendous potential value and that it would be stupid to dismantle this industry. Send Mercer. Send Michler. They can come and see for themselves, and then we just hope against hope that they have the fortitude to honestly admit what they’d observed.

          You make a lot of assumptions about my assumptions. You write: “The flawed assumption you have made (and trade proponents such as CITES makes) is that wildlife trade can quell demand and thus control demand.” Well, your assumption about my assumption is flat-out wrong.
          Nobody is suggesting that trade will “quell” the demand. What we are saying is that if farmers are given the incentive, if they could generate a proper income from it, they will supply a stable, healthy base of animals; a growing population, kept safe from poachers. How is the ban in rhino horn trade working for you? Well, hand the matter over to the game farmer, who has already saved the white rhino previously, and you will see the rhino population expand. And it will work for the lion as well.

          Stephen, I would have a lot more respect for you if you came straight-out and said that you oppose the captive-bred lion hunting industry because you just plain hate the idea of people killing animals. I could even empathize with you. I could certainly understand your opposition. It would lead, of course, to an entirely different conversation.
          The rest is just obfuscation and your evasions and objections will be defeated and you will lose.
          The tide is turning all over the world. Animal rights are very much a subset of the liberal Weltanschauung, and liberalism is a defeated and waning ideology. It will inevitably be replaced by nationalism. In the new nationalist age you can be sure – there will be a huge resurgence of the hunting culture. This is a fight in which you are destined to be defeated. You will lose.

          1. Post
            Author
            Stephen Wiggins

            “Thank you for your response. It is refreshing to debate matters with a leftist who does not summarily descend to insults and threats.“

            Well no, I try not to do that. But you do not seem to be quite so immune/controlled if you don’t mind me saying – where did the “leftist”
            labelling come from if nobody is name calling (no offence taken in case you are interested)?

            “That be said, you do seem to question my integrity and character by imputing all kinds of dark motives to me. I can assure you, I am a disinterested bystander. I do not hunt and I do not own a single lion, nor do I patronize lion parks or establishments which offer cub petting or walking with lions. My sole concern is for the lions and their survival.”

            “I am a disinterested bystander…” so you keep saying (not particularly convincingly).

            And so, on to the subject of the lion bones. What you are trying to stymie is a legal business consisting of the legal exploitation of a resource. I can understand the distaste you as an animal rights activist have in it, but there it is. You talk loose and fast about morals, ethics and duties. Well, it is immoral and unethical to unduly interfere with another man’s business. Your response would be that you have a duty towards animals which are cruelly treated, and I will concede that you do have that right. However, a ranch lion which is carefully bred, decently cared for and swiftly killed, suffers no more than any beef cow, mutton sheep or, for that matter, a sardine or chicken which is killed to be eaten.”

            Not wishing to get too philosophical, but since when has any ‘legal’ business been beyond reproach for ethics, morals or relevance as society/humanity supposedly evolves, or passes judgement?

            I expect you have heard this before, but I’ll repeat it again for you – if everyone just ignored perceived wrong-doing (based on society’s evolving expectations) we would still have ‘legal’ apartheid, ‘legal’ slavery……..you get the point, ‘legal’ does not mean beyond reproach, change, eradication based on the will of the majority, public opinion etc. (within open democracies). It takes time, it takes will, it does happen.

            Regardless, the right to voice opinion, critical or otherwise is a basic human right/need is it not? Or, are you against freedom of speech per se (or only if it doesn’t matches your own ‘values’)?

            Right, here we go with the “it’s the same as farming sheep, cattle….” argument you think supports abusing lions, big cats etc. so farmed in captive environments:

            1. Last time I looked, sheep, cattle etc. were not listed at Vulnerable, Critical, or Highly Endangered species on any scientific, international assessment of their given species’ population’s plight;

            2. Knowing as much as you do about wild lions, you must understand lion dynamics in their natural environment – wild lions live in strong pride structures, highly territorial, complex social interactions, hunt over wide territory, hunt their own prey, have the risks and challenges of such a wild, natural existence – all of that is (obviously) denied the lion/big cats species when bred in confinement for commercial purposes;

            3. Domestic sheep herds, cattle etc. don’t have even remotely comparable welfare or natural ‘needs.’ Trying to suggest all animals/wildlife are just farm stock because the SAPA members and all other captive lion/big cat breeders want to make money from lions is plainly absurd;

            4. Farming of ‘canned’ lions as cannon fodder for ‘hunters’ theoretically (so, cannot be disproved out of hand, because there is no current/study science – no one tracks how ‘canned’ hunters progress) breeds trigger happy hunters that graduate to the taking of wild lions – wild lion hunting quotas are not based on independently, recognisable science. ‘Best practice’ hunting theory is just that, not applied when the lure of $$$ is at stake it would seem (that has been proven time and time again). The theory that hunting has a positive impact on conservation of the lion species and/or income trickle down to local communities to keep them interested in protecting lions etc. is unsubstantiated. If you want more (which I doubt), read articles on IWB:

            a. https://iwbond.org/2017/02/02/new-report-reveals-big-game-hunting-makes-minimal-contribution-to-african-economies-and-jobs/

            b. https://iwbond.org/2016/12/06/report-on-lion-conservation-wildcru/

            5. Then there is the dual attraction of wildlife being revered for general tourism income within South Africa (important for GDP) and elsewhere. How does demeaning an iconic wildlife species, such as the African lion to mere farm stock status protect, or enhance brand South Africa, and/or brand wildlife tourism?

            In your own mind, an animal can be used and abused regardless (they are all the same…) – but boundaries and priorities needs to exist, be moved, created and changed – nothing is static and set in stone, the ‘acceptability’ (or lack thereof) of ‘lion farming’ cannot be hidden behind any rationale comparison to sheep, cattle, chickens etc…..stay on subject.

            “If you are willing to take on the entire meat-eating population of the world and project them as not much more than cannibals, well just speak your mind, and the discourse will take on an entirely different complexion.”

            Now onto the spectre you have raised of meat-eating and if/what it has to do (if anything at all) with captive lion/and breeding – the eating of meat and how that meat is sourced is another issue entirely (another debate entirely). What you are attempting to do (I have seen it before many times) is deflect attention by trying to lump anybody against the captive lion/big cat breeding industry and/or hunting (by some unproven association, but what the hell) with some sort of vegan campaign aimed at world domination.

            Regardless of any individual’s dietary choice/preference/view, once the premise you want to make that lion farming is the same as sheep/cattle farming delusion has dropped then, the whole meat-eating excuse/argument, veil of delusion drops aside.

            However, I will humour you a little, because you must be dying via such an unproven association to say that if I, or anyone else chew meat, then there is nothing we can say against lion farming because we are hypocrites (which is clearly nonsense). But, for your information, I don’t eat meat. Does that mean I am trying to convert the whole world to not eat meat? No I am not. Does that make me a hypocrite on the issue of captive lion and big cat breeding? No it does not (you, SAPA etc. will of course beg to differ, but so what, that’s the way of trying to hide your cause behind a fog of deceit to justify and obfuscate).

            “Your other smoke-and-mirrors objection is that a trade in the bones of captive-bred lions will somehow threaten the population of wild lions in South Africa. My standpoint is that there is a simple arrangement which will prevent that. Let the South African Predator Association regulate and audit the process. They have instituted a tag system for their members. Any lion which is hunted or offered to a hunter by a SAPA member will have to obtain a tag which will cost R10,000. This money will be donated to conservation outfits. The result will be easy to monitor: one tag, one set of bones to be exported. If 611 tags are sold in a given year, no more than 611 sets of bones may be exported.“

            The point you seem to wilfully exclude from your ‘thinking,’ is that any system is open to corruption. There has not been a system invented that is not open as some weak point to corruption. On the issue of wildlife, for example take CITES export permits (only supposed to be distributed by CITES Management Authority offices). Such permits are easily available on the black-market, or faked to facilitate all kinds of illicit activity – recent example – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/resources/idt-5e8c4bac-c236-4cd9-bacc-db96d733f6cf

            Why should the lion bone trade be immune and even a theoretical risk discarded if it does not suit your needs?

            If you believe any system is not open to corruption even in theory, then you are not based in reality.

            You seem to be ignoring the onus of responsibility for regulation still ultimately residing with the DEA to enforce abidance with laws (in theory), but instead you want it to be sub-contracted out to the SAPA, so the SAPA can be appointed as the fox guarding the hen house (an absurd notion in the extreme).

            “Can some crook sneak a set of wild lion bones into the consignment? It is possible, yes. But first of all he will need a government permit to hunt a lion as well as a very expensive tag. Here is what you are proposing an unscrupulous ranch lion owner will do: he will obtain a permit and then he will buy a tag. He will then drive, most often hundreds of kilometres, to probably the Kruger National Park, where the majority of South Africa’s wild lions are. He will contrive to poach a lion, taking an enormous risk. Then he will drive all the way back and have the lion butchered to get the skeleton which he will then present as being derived from a legitimate hunt. And for what profit? Well, lion bones currently sell at $1,500 per set, which is, with today’s exchange rate, exactly R20,075.10. Deduct his expenses for that and he will make paltry few thousand rand from it.”

            “Now if you think a farmer will go to all that trouble and take those enormous risks for a few thousand rand, you do not understand agriculture and you definitely do not comprehend the nature of the farmer. The entire lion-bones-laundering rubbish is just that: rubbish.”

            Who said anything about a lion farmer taking any undue risk themselves? The poached skeleton can be brought to them, or infiltrated at some point down the line without any lion farmer being directly culpable? Try and think outside the box.

            But you have missed the risk of a side line in illicit lion bone trade erupting out of control once the demand is stimulated, the infiltration/trafficking channels established – the criminal syndicates involved are massive, well-funded operations that make a side line in wildlife trafficking and somehow (by corruption), the kingpins remain immune from detection, let alone prosecution.

            But, you think you can ward all that off with a few bits of paper (unattainable for bribes?). You need to read more widely about what you/we are up-against and wilfully dismissing out of hand in terms of criminal wildlife trafficking influence on any ‘legal’ wildlife trade system:

            For a full picture reference part I – http://globalinitiative.net/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/Global-Initiative-Tipping-Point-Part1-July-2016.pdf

            Part 2 – http://globalinitiative.net/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/Global-Initiative-Beyond-Borders-Part2-July-2016-1.pdf

            “You drag cub petting into this discussion. Well, not one of the farmers I got to know and whose facilities I investigated tolerate cub petting or even pet the cubs of their own lions.”

            Good, but that does not mean it does not exist within the captive breeding industry you advocate for does it?

            Also, you might want to look up the Captive Carnivores Working Group – some of the people you deride are trying to work with the SAPA etc. on this and other ‘issues’ within the captive breeding industry.

            “But you did mention Blood Lions. Oh, Blood Lions – what a wicked, tawdry piece of work that is. I was a bystander in this entire squabble, but when I saw Blood Lions I recognized it for the dishonest, trashy hit piece it was. This is not journalism; this is propaganda, and not very subtle propaganda at that. Which immediately triggered the question: if they need to jiggle and juggle the facts like this, what is the truth? This led to my personal investigation into the matter. It is a shameful product and a person like Andrew Venter, for whom I had some regard, irredeemably sullied his reputation by being associated with such a deceitful sham. If I were you, I would not look to Blood Lions to support any facts or arguments.”

            “If I were you” – well luckily I am not. Don’t share your view on Blood Lions one bit, but like the “hit piece” you seem to have (accidently) labelled it…so great you (don’t?) like it. But that’s not unexpected news.

            What about this 2012 based video (released 2016) getting your critical review?: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YUxt577V8m8

            “Which brings us, once again, to your side’s overly confident and almost sacred doctrine that a captive-bred lion cannot be released, unless with the greatest fuss, into the wild. Now see, when I said you do not have the gonads to investigate this matter, I did not mean to insult you. I meant it as a fact. You just do not have the courage to go and have a look, and I’ll tell you why: if you did, your entire opposition strategy will unravel. You would have to admit that the ranch lion has tremendous potential value and that it would be stupid to dismantle this industry. Send Mercer. Send Michler. They can come and see for themselves, and then we just hope against hope that they have the fortitude to honestly admit what they’d observed.”

            I have never claimed to speak on behalf of any coherent “side’s” view.

            But you have missed the whole point previously made (I wonder why?).

            Again, why would I (and I can speculate on behalf of others) or Chris Mercer, Ian Michler, or any organisation that is against the captive breeding industry based on principle, ethical and moral objections (including the PHASA, IUCN……..etc.), wish to assist the SAPA in its sudden and dubious epiphany (a self-interested ‘business’ ambition) to re-invent itself as some kind of pseudo -‘conservation’ effort?

            There is no altruistic, conservation endeavour in the SAPA/captive breeding industry, which has always been about farming product for profit. The only recent motivation for the SAPA/captive breeding industry to try and prove any ‘conservation’ credentials is because the truth of the lack of ‘conservation’ credentials has dented the captive breeding industry’s business model (with canned lion hunting trophy import restriction because there is no proven conservation element/contribution).

            If you want to blame anyone for the SAPA’s plight regarding the lack of conservation credentials, then it’s self-inflicted through years of the PBA’s/SAPA’s/captive breeding industry’s own machinations seeking anything but a need to act ethically/morally in terms of conservation, or related welfare for their captives.

            “You make a lot of assumptions about my assumptions. You write: “The flawed assumption you have made (and trade proponents such as CITES makes) is that wildlife trade can quell demand and thus control demand.” Well, your assumption about my assumption is flat-out wrong.”

            “Nobody is suggesting that trade will “quell” the demand. What we are saying is that if farmers are given the incentive, if they could generate a proper income from it, they will supply a stable, healthy base of animals; a growing population, kept safe from poachers.”

            Well, nobody actually needs lion farmers, with the exception that lion farmers need lion farmers to exist to generate the income source from lion farming.

            Nobody actually ‘needs’ lion bones. The demand for tiger/lion bone potions is a product without any scientifically proven efficacy – hence the supply of which, or association of supplying is basically fraudulent. The demand is not required (subjective I know), but it’s not like anyone is seeking to curtail a critical supply line of any proven worth to anybody.

            Nobody actually needs to be able to kill a ‘canned’ lion for fun/sport and pretend it’s ‘conservation’ via a cheque-book.

            Nobody asked lion farmers to become lion farmers. They did it of their own volition driven by profiteering motives.

            To protect lions from poaching, needs zero trade, not more/any trade.

            Captive lion breeding has no inherent conservation value (or any sudden, independently, scientifically proven conservation potential) – captive lion breeding is not needed by anyone outside the cartel that profits from it.

            “How is the ban in rhino horn trade working for you? Well, hand the matter over to the game farmer, who has already saved the white rhino previously, and you will see the rhino population expand. And it will work for the lion as well.”

            Right, here we are (not unexpectedly) at the “we saved the rhino” argument….Project ‘Operation Rhino’ from the 1960s I assume you refer. Just so you know, I have just helped to write a University study on the very subject of South African rhinoceros “utilisation.”

            So, what caused the 1950s rhinos’ plight in the first place? Hunting and poaching, or just poaching? Hunting was a significant factor, so when hunters say they saved the species, they basically want to be congratulated for helping to save the species from their fellow hunters’ own abuse:

            “In the year 1800 about 1 million rhinos lived on earth…..Rapid human population growth and more efficient hunting methods greatly accelerated the decline of rhinos during the 1800s and 1900s” – M. ‘t Sas-Rolfes, “Saving Rhinos: Success versus Failure,” Rhino Economics, 2011.

            The game farmers did a great job, but fell back onto rhino hunting for income (part of the problem with the species’ decline in the first place).

            If you prefer the stance that poaching of rhino for horn was the main issue with the rhinos’ demise upto the 1950s, then why wasn’t rhino horn harvesting proposed then (not killing the rhino) for the benefit of the species? Instead of the action that was taken, to kill rhino for hunting trophies again was therefore misplaced. As always, it seems that the desire to kill is the compelling factor that overrides any other thinking/logic. By the way, this does not make me an advocate for rhino horn harvesting and trading either, far from it.

            Why is there a current moratorium on rhino horn trading in South Africa since 2009?

            TRAFFIC reported in 2008 that “some hunters have been abusing permits to shoot rhinos and export illegally obtained rhino horns – probably poached and directly linked to organised crime – as “hunting trophies.””

            In a 2012 report by TRAFFIC on the global rhino trade found that when South Africa did allow domestic horn trade, before 2009, much of the privately owned horn went unaccounted for and may have ended up in illegal hands, trafficked outside the country. It found that abuses and poor compliance in managing horn stockpiles in government and private hands had helped create a “perfect storm,” attracting criminal networks into lucrative rhino poaching.

            It has been suggested that the ‘upswing’ in the poaching of rhino in South Africa since 2009 coincided with a 2009 South African moratorium on ‘legal’ trade in rhino horn being initiated by the then DEA authority.

            However, this 2009 ‘upswing’ in rhino poaching in South Africa could be attributed to an exponential rise in demand for rhino horn in a newly wealthy Asian middle class and the misguided ‘belief’ perpetuated around 2005/06 in Vietnam that rhino horn could be a “cure for cancer.” Regardless of the origin, or reason, the ‘upswing’ has been sharp and sustained.

            This rhino horn trade moratorium is of course being successfully challenged by John Hume et al as I write, and with the current DEA on the pro-trade side (just been critiquing the DEA’s draft (daft) Regulations for such ‘domestic/export’ rhino horn trade), there is little doubt that the current moratorium will be lifted soon, not in the name of rhino conservation however (because the science to back the likelihood of any positive outcomes, and/or consideration of the likely market dynamics/criminal activity that will ensue has been conveniently overlooked, or any reasoning for positive outcomes for rhino conservation but a desire for such based on ‘hope’ – not a dependable strategy), but the moratorium will be lifted in the name of $$$ income regardless (and everybody involved gets to profit, but not the rhino).

            So, when it comes to the rhino, you will not mind I am sure if I don’t trust (based on historical wrong-doing) the hunters’ ethics, rhino horn farmers’ motives, DEA’s motives and/or your apparently tacit support for the rhino horn trade (domestic/export/international) and its likely negative/catastrophic impacts. Independent academic study/research says wildlife trade, including rhino horn is a mistake (other than to profit of course).

            In summary, in case you need it – Bad practice hunting (common) does not equal conservation; Wildlife trade encourages demand, illicit behaviour and poaching; Farming wildlife supporting hunting and trade does not work (apart from the $$$ for those that profit) and no, the income $$$ cannot offset protection against well-funded criminal syndicates and poaching that thrive off ‘legal’ trade. What needs to end is the whole ethos of wildlife “utilisation” – it is nothing but a vicious circle, where the only beneficiaries are the profiteers.

            “Stephen, I would have a lot more respect for you if you came straight-out and said that you oppose the captive-bred lion hunting industry because you just plain hate the idea of people killing animals. I could even empathize with you. I could certainly understand your opposition. It would lead, of course, to an entirely different conversation. The rest is just obfuscation and your evasions and objections will be defeated and you will lose.”

            All of yours and SAPA’s, captive breeding industry’s arguments are made to support an industry based purely on profit – there is no altruistic motive or imperative for the industry to exist.

            The only advocates animals have are us “antis/greenies/animal rights/NGOs” as we are called – the animal users and abusers have their shield of complicit pro-wildlife trade governments, bodies like CITES, well- funded lobbyists like SCI etc..

            I don’t really need your respect (but thanks for the offer) – I have the stance I have. I have a clear conscience about it and I have no intention of being bullied out of it. The ”you will lose” add on there, reduces the debate to the level of a mere game, it is not. Whatever happens, I will have a clear conscience. Others may not.

            “The tide is turning all over the world. Animal rights are very much a subset of the liberal Weltanschauung, and liberalism is a defeated and waning ideology. It will inevitably be replaced by nationalism. In the new nationalist age you can be sure – there will be a huge resurgence of the hunting culture. This is a fight in which you are destined to be defeated. You will lose.”

            No idea what political stuff you are espousing there about the rise of some new world order (I don’t think we share the same political views either, you just seem to hope Trump and his sons are coming to the rescue I assume), but I agree “the tide is turning” in some respects:

            The IUCN concluded in September 2016 “the prohibition by the South African Government on the capture of wild lions for breeding or keeping in captivity“ and “terminating the hunting of captive-bred lions (Panthera leo) and other predators and captive breeding for commercial, non-conservation purposes.”

            The United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), Service Director Dan Ashe announced (20 October 2016) that the United States will no longer permit the import of lion trophies from captive hunts in South Africa.

            The PHASA has distanced itself from the captive breeding industry.

            Blood Lions, ‘Dying to be Free’ etc. continue to spread awareness.

            On other positive matters, even China is going to attempt to ban the domestic ivory trade……

            If you were hoping to play mind games and demoralise me (and others) Rooijan, then I am afraid that our little debate/review has convinced me even more of the stance I have taken (and the lack of credibility in any counter claims/arguments/delusions).

            I have to leave you now to your private thoughts. I really don’t have the time (or will) to respond to any more regurgitated pro-captive breeding/hunting/trading arguments. I have seen them all by now I think. None of them are cohesive, convincing, compelling or of merit, but firmly held behind a veil of self-delusion (and the lure of $$$) in my humble opinion – so take care and goodbye.

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