RSG interview with André Mentz – President South African Predator Association
The latest media attack on the lion breeders in South Africa is a rehash of the old debate between animal rights activists and genuine sustainable-use conservationists.
Many animal rights organisations in South Africa are constantly working to bring our legal wildlife industry into disrepute. What they are doing is disloyal to our wonderful country.
They cannot make sweeping adverse statements about lion farming by lumping the activities of all lion farmers together. The truth is that most lion farmers operate in a legal and acceptable manner whilst only a few behave in an unacceptable fashion.
And to say that all lion farms are badly managed is simply not true.
We all know that many journalists operate in an unscrupulous manner by inciting emotions, sensation and shock within the public domain, whilst making no attempt at all to tell the truth. And some, particularly, thrive in representing the wildlife industry in a negative light.
The topic has flared up again at this time to pressurise the Honourable Minister Barbara Creecy’s High Level Panel into banning captive bred lion farming as she prepares to finalise her findings for presentation to parliament.
Many of the anti-lion farming comments are based on personal preference prejudices which have no basis in truth.
This campaign is obviously being driven and funded by foreign countries and their animal rights NGOs for their own financial reasons. And therein lies the gravest of dangers for South Africa’s wildlife.
People should be aware of the fact that the unique South African wildlife industry is beneficial to the well-being of many South African families and more benefits are still to come.
The wildlife industry is an important participant in the agriculture and tourism industries in South Africa.
Concerning the value of the lion industry, one should realise that there is a place for everybody under the sun and that the lion-related tourism facilities are legal and are regularly visited by government officials and veterinarians for health and quality control reasons.
The possibility of contagion of humans by zoönotic diseases resultant from and by lion farming activities is greatly exaggerated and is being used by the animal rightists as a huge red herring. The fact that owners of pets the world over, who are in daily contact with their animals, showing no sign of being infected with zoönotic disease, is proof of this falsehood.
It is absolutely unfair and it is unscrupulous, therefore, to blatantly declare such so-called facts without any proof.
A translation of Andre Mentz’ interview on RSG