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  • Writer's pictureCrone

There's no pride in this

In 2010, when I was in South Africa for the FIFA World Cup, I organised a trip to the Lion and Safari Park. There were maybe thirty of us. We cuddled lion cubs. So did the Germany team.

And went out in a tour bus to see the older lions in their fenced enclosures.

They said that the lions - many of them rare white lions - were bred for use in the film industry. Did I question if there was some conservation aspect to this? No, I don't think so.

The park had other animals. Giraffes, meerkats, cheetahs... I can't recall what else. We had a meal there and stayed in these rather charming tents overnight. You could hear the lions roaring. In fact, you could feel their roars rumble through the earth. It was quite an experience.

There are hundreds of these parks in South Africa. They are of no value to wild lion populations. In fact, wild lions are caught to enhance the gene pool. These lions are being turned into domestic animals - not that they are tame: they are not and remain dangerous. Maybe more dangerous as they have no fear of humans. They are domestic because they are bred at human will.

And their lives are awful. Cubs are removed from mothers when they are infants - both to get used to people and so the mother goes into oestrus again. They are fed cow milk or formula and this does not have all the minerals they need and in addition their immunity is compromised. Then they are cuddled and petted when they should be sleeping (cubs need at least 16 hours sleep a day.) They are beaten if they "misbehave".

When they are older, they go into the enclosures to be looked at on safari. These are not family groups: they are artificial collections of similarly aged sub adults.

Some are retained for breeding.

None are fed a good diet. They are given what is unfit for human consumption and it doesn't supply the vitamins and minerals they need, so they are sickly and weak.

Some are sent off to other parks, to avoid so much in-breeding.

Excess adults are kept in crowded disgusting conditions and fed less - they are a money drain.

Some are starved to death and their bones are sent to China.

Others, many of them, are sold to be killed in canned lion hunts. This is where lions - sometimes doped lions - are transported to an enclosed places and shot by rich people.

There are "justifications" - we bred them, we can do what we want with them; shooting bred lions means that people don't shoot wild lions; they bring money into the country which is used for conservation; lion parks create jobs.

These are all bunkum - as Michael Ashcroft explains in Unfair Game.

What makes it all worse is that as well as doing this, supporting with my rands an appalling industry, I had to be shamed by a lifelong supporter of and active political member of the Conservative Party. Lord Ashcroft has long been part of an establishment I dislike; yet he is doing great work to combat actions that I positively abhor.

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2 commenti

29 ago 2023


Mi piace
31 ago 2023
Risposta a

Truly xxx

Mi piace
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