Since the time that canned hunting was exposed, the NSPCA has raised opposition to the captive lion industry in its entirety and have been serving in the interest of thousands of captive lions for two decades.
The NSPCA undertook litigation measures based on further implications and consequences on the formalisation of a lion bone export quota following CoP17 of CITES would give effect to, resulting in further commercialisation of the captive lion industry, whilst the ethical, conservation and animal welfare concerns remained excluded. The courts ruled in our favour, ultimately stating that animal welfare considerations must be taken into account when making conservation and wildlife use policy decisions, not just for lions, but all wildlife, including the environment they are dependent on for survival. See the lion bone court case ruling here.
The Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, Ms Barbara Creecy, adopted a recommendation made by an appointed High-level Panel of Experts to ultimately bring an end to the captive lion industry. As an active stakeholder, the NSPCA submitted comments for the draft Policy Position on the Conservation and Ecologically Sustainable Use of Elephant, Lion, Leopard and Rhinoceros on the 28th of July 2021 to state our support for the captive lion industry to be outlawed.
The NSPCA was compelled to place pressure on the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment when queries were received about how industry players could leave the market. The captive lion industry is awash with red tape and exiting the industry with Threatened or Protected Species (TOPS) such as lion, is a challenge. Minister Creecy appointed a task team which is made up of experts across the spectrum to discuss voluntary exit strategies. The NSPCA wishes the team well with the difficult task ahead.
The NSPCA plays a critical role in the captive lion industry and continues to carry out inspections across the provinces of South Africa.