Ban Canned Hunting in South Africa

  • by: Nikki Botha
  • recipient: Martinus van Schalkwyk, Minister, Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism SA

Ask the South African Government to Ban Canned Hunting!

Canned Hunting defined: Canned hunting is the killing of an animal in an enclosure to obtain a trophy/ Canned hunting is the killing of captive animals, often semi-tame, in an enclosure.

An article containing the following appeared in the national South African newspaper Die Beeld on December 12th 2006:


By Elise Tempelhoff

Canned hunting remains legal.  The South African government yesterday gave the green light to canned hunting, but promised strict regulation.   A lion that has been captive bred must be released into a “reasonable area” and may only be hunted after 6 months.  The approval for canned hunting that will be contained in conservation legislation is contrary to what the Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism Martinus van Schalkwyk said in statements in May last year that this industry “will be shut down”.Mr. Fundisile Mketeni, deputy director of the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, Biodiversity and Conservation yesterday said that the minister was threatened by lion breeders and hunters with major lawsuits should he make the decision to outlaw and ban canned hunting.  Minister Van Schalkwyk had no option than to accommodate their demands, as it would have been unconstitutional to stop canned hunting outright.   

Accustomed as we are to being treated like mushrooms by this conservation regime - kept in the dark and fed on bullsh*t, this latest press release takes the biscuit.  In effect, the Department contradicts its previous propaganda, and now solemnly declares that canned hunters cannot be stopped because the little darlings have a ‘constitutional right’ to be cruel to animals.
One wonders what bright stars in the legal firmament came up with this lifeline for the animal abusers.  Section 24 of the Bill of Rights of the South African Constitution entitles South Africans to reasonable and appropriate methods of nature conservation for their well-being.  This includes the “aesthetic interest of all South Africans in the preservation of their environment”.   See definition of “environment” in the National Environmental Management Act, 107 of 1998.  In a land mark American judgment approved by the Federal Supreme Court of the United States , one’s ‘aesthetic interest’ was held to extend to the right not to be offended by cruelty to animals. 

The Jurnove case.   ( Animal Legal Defence Fund Inc.  v.  Glickman, 332  U.S. App.D.C.  104,  154 F. 3d 426    1998).    See report at
 In the case of Nair v Union Government of India, decided in Kerala, a case involving circus elephants, The Indian Supreme Court came to the same conclusion. So there is solid authority in Constitutional Law to say that cruelty to animals such as canned hunting violates the Constitutional rights of SA citizens.But the case against canned hunting goes further than this.  The Animals Protection Act of 1962 extends protection to all wild animals who are captive.  The word ‘captive’ is subject to interpretation, but surely applies to canned hunting where  habituated, hand-reared lions are hunted in fenced enclosures from which they cannot escape.  In short, canned hunting is arguably illegal as well as unconstitutional.Yet here are civil servants, paid by the taxpayer to carry out their statutory duty to ‘preserve flora and fauna,’ mis-representing the law in order to protect the financial interests of the hunting industry and its accomplices in conservation uniforms.

Their antics make conservation, like apartheid, a dirty word.  Because of their incompetence and ethical illiteracy, the stranglehold of the hunting fraternity remains, and conservation in SA continues to be an ugly, violent mess.

For those of you who are disgusted by the way the new hunting policies seek to institutionalise cruelty to helpless animals, we ask you to sign this petition.
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