Skip to main content

Aricle by Chris Mercer of Canned Lion Hunting Campaign July 2014

Hunting – profit or loss for SA?

In our efforts to address the issue of a local school offering a hunting weekend as a prize in a fund-raising venture, this letter was amongst those sent by supporter AngelaTuson to the Paul Roos Rector on the issue of hunting:

“From the SA scouts to the SPCA, from children’s literature to children’s interests, animals remain the largest subject that children choose to concern themselves with. Animal books always comprise the largest single subject group in any children’s book collection. As someone concerned with children’s issues, I know that that it is detrimental to teach children to behave cruelly towards animals. It is quite simply giving children a mixed message. On the one hand their wider society (something they cannot be separated from without abuse) tells them that animals deserve respect and welfare, on the other parent or a school community may tell them that it’s perfectly alright to hurt or kill those who are seen to occupy a lower station in a rigid hierarchy.”

The American Library Association stated that school shootings, bullying and child abuse occur most frequently in areas with highest hunting participation and with most lax gun regulation, and removed books with stories about hunting from their recommended reading lists country-wide.

Welfare workers in South Africa during Kader Asmal’s term of office were concerned that when children practice cruelty towards animals, this played out in their behaviour towards their peers, and, left unchecked or unpunished, was one of the three major contributing factors to psychopathic behaviour in their young adulthood. Parent’s condoning hunting and ritual slaughter were cautioned that their children may grow up to be high-violence-contributors. The Humane Education Trust was established.

Hunting is an elitist activity as well as a cruel one and has been radically phased out North America and Europe. Children are aware of this and discuss these issues. I’m sure that neither you nor I, who work vocationally towards South African children’s future want them to one day be ashamed that they grew up in a non-progressive society, but rather to reflect back on our influence and see us as the foundations of the progressive society they inherit.

As an educationist myself, I feel strongly that teaching children that it is killing animals for financial gain is doing those children a grave disservice, and raising money for a school in this way is doing the school and our entire education system injury too. “

Beauty Without Cruelty not only raised the issue of the questionable idea of instilling in school children of any age that hunting is an acceptable and indeed praiseworthy pastime, BWC also, with the assistance of Aquila private game reserve, offered an alternate prize, of a luxury safari viewing weekend for four, in lieu thereof. This was refused by the school head, (after ignoring e-mails) via telephone, because they see nothing wrong at all with the idea of a weekend of animal killing instead of animal viewing, poo poo’ing the concept of animals shot with cameras and not weapons.

BWC is against the idea of taking lives for pleasure, profit or palate, especially in an age and area where various healthful foods are in abundance. The simple fact is that hunters enjoy killing. ‘For the pot’ is an excuse for legal killing. That this is legal and considered acceptable, as we know, does not make something ethical or moral.


Hunting protagonists would have you believe that hunting benefits South Africa by creating jobs and bringing in money.  For example, the Dept of Environment recently told the media:   ‘In 2012, the income generated by trophy hunting from fees and daily rates was about R807 million.’   It astounds me how uncritically African governments accept that hunting is an economic and employment benefit to the country.

Would you be stupid enough to buy a company without seeing the whole Balance Sheet?  Would you blindly accept the profits without taking losses in to account?

The claim that hunters create jobs and income requires us to assume that all the hunting farms were vacant land before being used for hunting.  That is simply not true.   All those ten thousand hunting farms in SA used to provide jobs for workers to produce crops and livestock. All those farms used to provide for the nation. Now they produce living targets for the hunting industry. Is this progress?

Let us take the wool industry, for example.  We know that the amount of wool produced in SA over the last 20  has declined by 50 000 000 kg. (Fifty million kilograms)  Let’s break that figure down. Taking an average flock of a 1000 ewes, that means a loss of 12,500 farms. Notice how that correlates to the increase in hunting farms to more than ten thousand.  Each unit could give 4000 kg of wool a year and employ three workers.  So converting to game farming (hunting) has resulted in the loss of more than 37,000 jobs in the wool industry.  Some of these would have gone to the game industry but not all – the skill set is different. Many of the so- called game or holiday farms do not have any employees and are only used for a weekend get away, and for hunting.

So the hunting industry has caused severe losses to the wool industry.

The loss of crop farms to hunting would be even greater in terms of food supply, upstream and downstream benefits to the agricultural economy – and to jobs for farm labour.  The cattle industry has also suffered.  The number of farmers on the land has declined drastically, while farm labour is now a paltry one third of the one and a half million farm workers who used to be employed.

Is this progress?

Is it not time for the Department of Agriculture to produce a proper Balance Sheet on hunting?  Measure accurately the losses and expenses flowing from the change in land use, and then we can test the veracity of the extravagant claims on jobs and benefits made by hunters.

Livestock was, and is, subject to humane slaughter regulations, whereas hunting is a toxic industry whose whole business model is routine cruelty to helpless animals.

Is this progress?

While this  spoof website is humourous, the fact of the matter is that hunters enjoy killing, and yes, could be seen to be attempting to compensate for real or imagined inadequecies. All the pro-hunting arguments about conservation, damage causing animals, the the thrill of the stalk and the like comes down to one simple fact. They like killing. Or they would use cameras.


Beauty Without Cruelty is opposed to the deprivation of life that hunting represents. We oppose all exploitation of animals and believe, with regard to wildlife, that nature managed very well before humans decided to interfere in their “management”. It is human interference and our greedy appropriation of their habitats (the Riverine rabbit is an example) that is responsible for their plight and …hunting should not be the method promoted to control their numbers and thus encourage further destruction of habitats in the long term; where will it all end?

Killing animals to conserve them is an interesting concept! The reason why game is so prolific on privately owned game farms is not because of a genuine effort to preserve wildlife, but in order to exploit the numbers for profit. These farms are commercial ventures and breeding and killing to keep the numbers of animals healthy is not conservation, but a money making venture! I As far as using the meat obtained from a kill is concerned: what does the hunter do with inedible meat such as that obtained from lions, leopard and other carnivores! Hunting is not done solely as a means of “helping conservation”, but more because it is entertainment, “sport” and because some people like killing animals.

We hear about much blood money is generated through hunting and we would be interested to know how much of that money actually goes towards conservation! Some years ago the EPA challenged the Zimbabwe government on this issue and it eventually came to light that most of the money was distributed between various government departments that had no link to conservation and no doubt the same happens in this country.

We consider humane education to be as valuable to young people as the creation of jobs and generating money. It is an internationally accepted fact that cruelty to animals leads to cruelty to humans and our mandate is to inform and educate young and old about the suffering, abuse and exploitation of animals and its potential affect on society. We are an animal rights organisation and we believe that animals are entitled to basic rights, including the right to exist (naturally), without interference from humans. We encourage people to make compassionate lifestyle choices which will lead to a compassionate society which is much needed in this country (but we do sometimes have our failures!).

It is tragic that young people in schools are being encouraged to kill animals under the guise of “conservation” and we have no problem with informing people of this. We are encouraged by the fact that animal rights has been deemed the fastest growing movement in the world and this trend will, hopefully, be adopted in this country too. Beryl Scott

In the news – BWC and the hunting prize

In an age and place where food is plentiful there is no need to hunt. Killing for fun, especially exposing children to the concept that animals are here solely for our exploitation to do with as we see fit, is an unhealthy notion. Despite all the high-minded arguments that hunting is a cultural right, that we have always hunted, the necessity for conservation and so on, it comes down to one thing only- the joy of killing. A prize that honours our wildlife, such as photo safaris would be the right thing, especially when of late we have had so many killed at the hands of poachers, and we can teach our children we can enjoy and respect animals without killing.

This article in Psychology Today provides some insight about the Trump sons and other trophy hunters.

Before you support a “wildlife” or “conservation” group, ask about its position on hunting

video clip, kindly supplied by CACH (Campaign against Canned Hunting) considers the issue of ‘canned’ hunting, and this article written by Chris Mercer explores “Mero Motu and the Extinction of Lions in Souther Africa” 


It isn’t possible to even articulate what impact this picture has.

In a
2003 paper in the journal Visual Studies, two sociologists reviewed hundreds of photos in 14 popular hunting magazines, looking for themes in the photos of animal bodies. They tested the notion in traditional hunting narratives that trophy displays pay tribute to the beauty of nature and wildlife.

Instead of love and respect for nature and individual animals, the researchers reported, œwe found extreme objectification of animal bodies, with severed deer heads and cut-off antlers representative examples of the contradiction in the love-of-nature hunting stereotype. These days, whether one actually displays heads on walls or instead has photos of oneself grinning like a buffoon over the corpse of the dead animal, is irrelevant – both clearly indicate people who kill for entertainment or to gratify their egos. People who kill for fun are usually labelled serial killers.

Contrary to what hunters often say in defense of their cruel pastime, hunting has nothing to do with “conservation” or “population control.” In fact, animals are often specially bred and raised for hunters to kill.

If left unaltered by humans, the delicate balance of nature’s ecosystems ensures the survival of most species. Natural predators help maintain this balance by killing only the sickest and weakest individuals.

Hunters, however, strive to kill the animals they would like to hang over the fireplace—usually the largest, most robust animals, who are needed to keep the gene pool strong. This “trophy hunting” often weakens the rest of the species’ population: Elephant poaching is believed to have increased the number of tuskless animals in Africa, and in Canada, hunting has caused the bighorn sheep’s horn size to fall by 25 percent in the last 40 years. Nature magazine reports that “the effect on the populations’ genetics is probably deeper.”

Here are similarities between Trophy Hunters & Serial Killers:

  • They feel compelled to keep a trophy souvenir from their victims
  • The killing is addictive and leads to more killings
  • They seek fame, attention, and notoriety
  • The kills are premeditated (who, what, where, how)
  • The killing gives a surge of adrenalin (“thrill kill”)
  • Stalking the victim gives a feeling of excitement
  • Killing becomes a compulsion (addiction)
  • The killing is seen as a “sport” or “game”
  • There’s a cooling off period) between killings
  • The hunt gives the killer a feeling of power, dominance, and control over their victim
  • They are titillated by “the hunt” and fantasize about the kill
  • Many document their kills via photos and/or videos to gratify themselves later

(source:, citing wikipaedia)

This article written some years ago by local Gareth Patterson makes for compelling reading: hunting is a series of killings. Yes, hunters are usually within the law, coming from familes where hunting is an acceptable activity. To our view, taking children to hunt, active particpants or not, is akin to child abuse. How many parents take their children to an abbatoir? (Although that is a discussion for another page) However, unlike murdering humans, hunting is considered by many to be socially acceptable , just like so many other forms of animal exploitation. It seems clear the feelings of power, dominance and attention -seeking in hunters and serial killers are similar.


Seen on a hunting website : We encourage family hunts and teach the young ones at an early age to participate.


“Whenever I see a photograph of some sportsman grinning over his kill, I am always impressed by the striking moral and esthetic superiority of the dead animal to the live one.”
Edward Abbey, A Voice Crying in the Wilderness



This young lad does not look happy.

excellent article written by James McWillians June 2013 is worth a read, on the mindset of the big game hunter.  

See this article on the Trophy Hunting of African Lions

The trophy hunting of lions Panthera leo is contentious due to uncertainty concerning conservation impacts and because of highly polarised opinions about the practice. African lions are hunted across at least ~558,000 km2, which comprises 27–32% of the lion range in countries where trophy hunting of the species is permitted. Consequently, trophy hunting has potential to impart significant positive or negative impacts on lions.

Several studies have demonstrated that excessive trophy harvests have driven lion population declines. There have been several attempts by protectionist non-governmental organisations to reduce or preclude trophy hunting via restrictions on the import and export of lion trophies. We document the management of lion hunting in Africa and highlight challenges which need addressing to achieve sustainability.

Problems include: unscientific bases for quota setting; excessive quotas and off-takes in some countries; fixed quotas which encourage over-harvest; and lack of restrictions on the age of lions that can be hunted.

Key interventions needed to make lion hunting more sustainable, include implementation of: enforced age restrictions; improved trophy monitoring; adaptive management of quotas and a minimum length of lion hunts of at least 21 days. Some range states have made important steps towards implementing such improved management and off-takes have fallen steeply in recent years. For example age restrictions have been introduced in Tanzania and in Niassa in Mozambique, and are being considered for Benin and Zimbabwe, several states have reduced quotas, and Zimbabwe is implementing trophy monitoring. However, further reforms are needed to ensure sustainability and reduce conservation problems associated with the practice while allowing retention of associated financial incentives for conservation.