The Namibia Professional Hunting Association (NAPHA) has condemned its counterpart-the Professional Hunting Association of South Africa (PHASA)- for amending its constitution to allow for the shooting of Captive Bred Lions.
Captive bred lions are normally trapped within a fenced enclosure from which they cannot escape, then people go in and pay a fee to kill them.
NAPHA said it cannot sit idly and allow actions which are contrary to both its aims and objectives, as well as the internationally recognized principles of ethical hunting in Africa, to go unanswered
PHASA decided at their Annual General Meeting held on 22 November 2017 that, in future, their constitution would define the term “ethical hunting” as: “Ethical hunting shall mean all types of hunting permissible by law”. This amended definition was approved at their AGM by majority vote.
NAPHA reacted by saying said it is shocked and deeply disappointed that PHASA has decided to take the low road by amending its constitution to include a bland and superficial definition of the word “ethical” that now leaves the door wide open to abuse and exploitation by those who clearly have no concern for the future of hunting in Africa, or around the world.
“It must also be unequivocally stated that this amending of the PHASA definition of the term “ethical” flies in the face of the Code of Ethical Sport Hunting Conduct for Africa, co-signed at Victoria Falls in 1997 by the late Mr Basie Maartens, acting as president of PHASA, as well as the Operators and Professional Hunting Associations of Africa Memorandum of Understanding, also co-signed by PHASA, which clearly define what these bodies deem to be termed ethical, said NAPHA president Danene van der Westhuyzen.
According to NAPHA, the majority vote which approved this constitutional amendment was achieved by a vote of less than one third of its membership.
“NAPHA wants to believe that the majority of hunters in South Africa do not support this change in constitution as well as condemns any form of Captive Bred Lion practices, and shall therefore continue to have NAPHA’s support in rectifying this grievous wrong,” she said.
She added: “NAPHA would like to place it on record that there is a distinct and profound difference between the definitions of the concepts of “legal” and “ethical” and that, just because something might be legal (or not yet deemed to be illegal), that it is therefore ethical.”
There is no law expressly forbidding knowingly shooting a pregnant animal, or animal with dependent young but, by any definition of the word ethical, this would be condemned by any right minded human being with even the vaguest comprehension of what ethical means. In terms of the amended definition approved by PHASA, this type of action would now be deemed by them to be ethical.
She said by reaching this decision: “PHASA has decided to ignore the majority opinion of both the hunting and the non-hunting community around the world and, by so doing, has placed all the hard work undertaken by various institutions in support of sustainable hunting as a tool of conservation, in jeopardy.”
Both NAPHA and numerous other African Professional Hunting Associations have, in the past, warned PHASA that, by even considering this course of action, “they are heading down a very slippery slope where short sighted decisions would be detrimental to the entire hunting industry worldwide.”
“In addition to this, the decision taken by the majority of PHASA members now leaves the door wide open in South Africa to engage in Captive Bred Lion Shooting (please note that NAPHA, along with the majority of African Hunting Associations affiliated to OPHAA (Operators and Professional Hunting Associations of Africa) as well as APHA (African Professional Hunting Association), considers this type of activity to be in direct contravention of what we consider fair chase and ethical hunting, therefore, cannot be called hunting). There is a very fine line between Captive Bred Lion Shooting and Canned Lion Shooting, if any; and this activity has been condemned around the world,” she further said.
She said: “PHASA, by engaging in fancy semantics, attempts to veil or justify their decision but, irrespective of what PHASA might choose to call it, canned and captive shooting are rejected by all ethical hunters who believe that there is small difference between the two. In addition to this, semantics aside, this decision will be met with shock and disgust by the non–hunting public worldwide.”
Despite this, said the NAPHA president, PHASA has chosen to ignore the warnings of numerous Hunting Associations in Africa and world opinion and now allows for the shooting of Captive Bred Lion.
“As such, NAPHA has no choice but to condemn this short sighted and ill-advised decision by PHASA in the strongest possible terms and has no choice but to distance itself from this reprehensible decision which has severely tarnished the reputation of the entire African hunting industry.
We shall continue to stand firm in our beliefs and support Hunting Associations throughout Africa and the world who share our mission and vision, whereby ethical and fair chase hunting outweigh any short sighted focus on financial gain.”
PHASA spokesperson, Richard Yorke, was quoted in the South African media saying PHASA rejects all forms of canned or illegal hunting.
“It was unfortunate that NAPHA had made an irrational public statement without proper consultation. Direct discussion would have been more ethical as opposed to spats waged in the media,” Yorke was quoted saying in the latest edition of the Farmer’s Weekly magazine.