From the canned hunting archives …

VANDERBIJLPARK, 15 June 2009 — It is the end of the road for South Africa’s 123 lion breeders and 3 000 canned lions.

This follows a verdict in the Free State High Court in Bloemfontein that these semi-tame animals may be hunted only 24 months after being set free from their breeding cages.

Judge Ian van der Merwe concurred with the government that bio-diversity must be protected and that the breeding of lions in captivity with the sole purpose of canned hunting does not aid their protection.

The lion breeders’ request that the period of 24 months in the regulations be changed to “a few days” was dismissed with costs.

Albi Modise, a spokesman for the Water Affairs and Environment Department, said the government welcomes the verdict.

“This means that the reprehensible practice of canned hunting has most certainly come to an end.”



Letter to Carel van Heerden – Chairman of the South African Predator Breeders’ Association


Dear Carel,

When I heard that the Free State High Court had rejected your efforts to prevent this liberal touchy-feely rabbit-fondling government from interfering in canned lion hunting, I was devastated. I know what you meant when you said the ruling by Judge Ian van der Merwe left you feeling as if someone had kicked you in the stomach. I had the same feeling.

I was so angry when I read about the court’s decision that I inadvertently over-medicated and woke up to find Brenda actually kicking me in the stomach and demanding that I throw away all the empty bottles. Is that what happened to you? Maybe we should introduce canned wife hunting.

What gets me is that the ruling was made by one of our own. I never thought I would come across a van der Merwe who is against hunting. In Bloemfontein, nogal. What is this country coming to? I noticed that the judge’s first name is Ian. He must have an English mother. That’s where the trouble starts, every time. As soon as these halflings grow up, they cross over to the dark side.

Look at Marthinus van Schalkwyk. He started this nonsense with his new rules about hunting predators. Before he crossed over to the darkie’s side, he would shoot anything that moved. Or was that Magnus Malan? Anyway, the point is that you were absolutely right to go to court to stop him. It’s just a pity that you got a judge who has never felt the pleasure of sitting on a deck chair drinking nicely chilled brandy and coke and picking off lions whenever they came up to the fence.

In his blatantly pro-predator judgement, van der Merwe said it was “abhorrent and repulsive” to hunt lions bred and raised in captivity. Is he not aware of the damage these animals can do? I have heard of hunters driving into enclosures in brand new 4x4s and having lions come up and claw the bodywork. It doesn’t matter that they only wanted to be scratched behind the ears. Purple metallic paint is not cheap these days.

As you know, foreign hunters will pay more than R170 000 to bag a big male who would otherwise spend his time lolling about under a tree licking his balls and generally being the mane ou. Pride comes before a fall. Or, in this case, a bullet to the head.

I was pleased to see that lionesses go for only R10 000. At least you guys don’t discriminate when it comes to devaluing the worth of females, regardless of their species.

Using unpatriotic words like “biodiversity”, the judge said that breeders were only interested in making money. What absolute nonsense. These people love lions with a passion. Why else would they have lion skins on their floors, lion heads on their walls, lion paw backscratchers, lion tail whips and lion teeth jewellery? These are the same people who drank Lion lager before the government banned that, too.

Until recently, we could proudly call ourselves one of the world’s canned lion hunting capitals. More than a thousand of these devil-cats were gunned down every year. We could have doubled this number if we had packed them a bit tighter in the cages. But because we are not cruel, we left them with enough room to turn around and even lie down if they kept their legs folded in.

If the government bans canned lion hunting, then they must also ban battery chicken farming. The only difference between the two is that there is less of a demand for trophy hunting in the chicken industry because most taxidermists are unable to work with such small heads.

Now that the bloodless coup is over, what is going to happen to the country’s 120 lion breeders? These people have big meat-eating families to feed. Have you thought about canned dog hunting? There is no law that says you can’t breed Great Danes or Irish Wolfhounds or any other dog with leonine qualities. These hounds would be a joy to hunt because you would only have to wait for one to come up and sniff your crotch before shooting it in the head. You needn’t even leave the braai.

You said that about four thousand captive lions had now lost their economic value and might have to be put down. Don’t go soft on us, Carel. You are a hunter. Get the men together, take the cats down to the Union Buildings and release them in the parking lot at 5pm. We may as well have the last laugh.

Yours, knee-deep in blood and gore.

Ben Trovato

2 thoughts on “From the canned hunting archives …

  1. Vanessa Anderson says:

    In my line of work, I once inspected the bones of 58 lions in an airport cargo terminal, en route to Vietnam. Along with Customs, we were checking to make sure there was no rhino horn or drugs hidden amongst the bones. We opened box after box, and It was distressing to see the bones, including 11 skulls, of these obviously juvenile adult lions, which had been purpose-bred for sale to countries where they have this false (medically proven to be false) belief that wine made from these bones will cure diseases and aid sexual performance.
    The Customs official with me during the inspection said that he knew of these breeders, located mear Brits, and that the lions are raised in awful conditions with no regard for their welfare. Who knows if they are killed humanely. The declared customs value on the shipping document was hundreds of thousands of Rands.
    It is a money making racket, and that is all. There is no conservation motive and no benefit for anybody else but the breeders. The welfare of the animals is not even a consideration.
    The government should NOT allow this cruel and greedy industry to even exist in this country. It gives us a bad name and sullies our conservation efforts and claims, and fuels a trade in the bones of endangered animals for a non-existant medical benefit.
    South Africa should be setting an example for the rest if the world, not greedily stuffing ill-gotten Dollars into the pockets of these breeders.

  2. Marda DeWet says:

    Sarcasm is a weapon that can be used extremely effectively. As this letter clearly does. However, I would like to point out that a word like “pigfilth” is perhaps the wrong one to use. Frankly, I believe that all animals who are butchered, be it lion or other wild game, by killing billions of animals killed every year by the meat industry (which includes millions of pigs) are entitled to their right to live. Hunters are pretty disgusting. Meat eaters? The dairy industry? The egg industry? In my opinion, just as bad. Watch “Earthlings”, listen to Gary Yourofsky on YouTube, or Paul mcCartney for PETA on Glass Walls. Maybe that will give you an insight into the everyday horrors that the food industry perpetrates on a daily business.

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