Canned Hunting under fire

Canned Hunting under fire

Canned Hunting under fire. Credit: 7News

The Australian Government is striking a major blow in the fight to save lions from a gruesome death at the hands of an industry branded one of the cruellest in the world.

In this age of instant gratification comes Canned Hunting; a tame lion is raised by humans in a cage then put in a fenced area for tourists to kill.

From Australia, America and Europe, gun-toting tourists are flocking to South Africa's Canned Hunting farms to shoot lions.


"I think if Australians knew more, as this program is showing, then they would be rightly horrified," said Greg Hunt, Australia's Environment Minister.

At hundreds of lion farms across Africa, the cubs are taken from their mother at birth and raised by humans. Visitors pay to pet and play with them.

When they get too big to pet, the guests pay to walk with a lion.

Finally, from about the age of three, the lions are ushered into an enclosed area where hunters await.

Ian Michler is a South African conservationist and anti-Canned Hunting Campaigner.

He is in Australia to support the Governments plan to deal a massive blow to Africa's $200million-a-year Trophy Hunting Industry.

He said: "But in this modern world we live in where time and money are big issues, what happens is people want it quicker and they want it cheaper and they want it guaranteed."

"It's killing, there's absolutely no chance that a guy who's bought a Canned Hunt in South Africa is not going to bag his trophy.

"Some (hunters) come from Australia, a lot come from Europe, Middle East, North America, Central America the killing is taking place in Africa, the killers are coming from outside the continent."

Trophy Hunters can pay $75,000 to go on safari hunting a wild lion with no guarantee of a kill. Canned Hunting offers certainty at around one tenth of the price.

"These animals, in many circumstances, raised in what are the equivalent of factory farms they are then released into a small area and shot as an allegedly trophy prize, but honestly it's not fair, it's not humane, it's not 21st Century and on my watch it's not acceptable," Minister Hunt said.

Australia's Environment Minister has already banned Rhinoceros body parts from being imported. Now he is extending the ban.

"Well this is about a permanent ban on the importation of lion parts and lion trophies into Australia," Minister Hunt said.

There are 4,000 wild lions in South Africa. There are double that number, in captivity, bred for the bullet.

Environment Minister Greg Hunt, Ian Michler and Jason Wood MP at Parliament House in Canberra

Since 2010, 144 lion parts have been brought here from Africa. This Government ban will stop that. Yet many other animals will continue to be bred to kill. Shooting and hunting groups claim this law will only serve to increase illegal hunting or poaching.

Mr Michler said the two things are not related.

"First of all, all of that activity, or nearly all of that activity, is taking place on private agricultural farms," he said.

Many hunters kill in what is called a Fair Chase hunt, where the animal has to be tracked and has a chance to get away. Canned Hunts offer no chance of escape.

David Fent, President of Aussie Hunting Adventures, said: "It's a small number of people that do it each year, I think it's a bit of a knee-jerk reaction."

His members fear the Australian ban on importing lion parts will quickly spread.

"If they move to do one species, they may move to ban the importation of other species and all species," Mr Fent added.

The AHA and other Hunting groups say they are against Canned Hunting, but they want to preserve the right of shooters to kill.

"From a hunters and a biologists point of view we are totally against Canned Hunting, we're all for free range hunting, ethical and legal hunting," Mr Fent added.

This new ban is expected to come into force by Christmas. By then nearly 100 more Lions will be shot in small enclosures, their bodies divided up as trophies and for Asias fast-growing lion bone trade.

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