Calls for regulation of tactile activities with wild animals, including cub petting, are steadfastly opposed by the National Council of SPCAs. This follows the formation of the Captive Carnivore Working Group who propose the establishment of a Management Plan relating to the petting of lion cubs.
The NSPCA is steadfast in our position that this and other practices involving interaction with captive wild animals are unethical, exploitive and an unashamedly money-making operations with no benefit to any animal.
These practices should end rather than being regulated.
We support the stance of Blood Lions who stated: – “Along with the predator conservation community, the hundreds of highly regarded responsible and ethical tourism operators around the world and SA Tourism, we believe there is no place for tourism activities promoting the exploitation of animals. The links between the breeding farms, the petting and walking facilities, canned hunting and the lion bone trade are clear”.
The proposed move by the Captive Carnivore Working Group is at odds with international moves towards the promotion and support of ethical tourism. The travel web site and interactive forum TripAdvisor no longer allows users to book activities that involve contact with endangered species or captive wild animals. This includes elephant rides or petting / handling lion cubs.
An announcement in late 2016 that Botswana will no longer permit the riding of elephants was hailed as a further breakthrough and we urge others to see the value in eco-tourism.
The NSPCA fully supports the decisions above which are in line with increasing public sentiment on the issue of animals and “entertainment”.
Our call is for South Africa to be part of this movement, to recognise the value in non-exploitive activities and to promote the viewing of wild animals in their natural environment.
We call upon the public to make their voices heard by only supporting ethical destinations and encouraging visitors and tourists to do the same: – for the animals’ sake.