Offensive AOL Media Release Deleted from TGA’s Facebook Page

Statement from the CEO-TGA: The TGA acknowledges that at 3 o’clock yesterday morning, South African time, TGA’s Facebook page shared a world-wide media release by AOL confirming the failure of PHASA and CHASA to have their expulsion from the CIC – the world’s biggest hunting organization – repealed.
The statement mentioned that the cause of the expulsion was because PHASA and CHASA “embraced the hunting of ‘canned’ lions” in South Africa of which the CIC disapproved. This offensive statement had been removed from the TGA Facebook page by seven o’clock this morning. It was, therefore, only ‘within the public domain’ for a few hours – and it recorded very few viewings. So, hopefully, no serious damage was done to PHASA’s and CHASA’s reputation. Certainly, the appearance of this media statement on the TGA’s Facebook page is unfortunate; and the TGA apologizes unreservedly to both PHASA and CHASA for this innocent error of judgment.
Barrack Obama, America’s previous president, said of a ‘crisis’ that it should not be wasted; and that a crisis very often resulted in a good outcome that would not have been possible had not the crisis occurred first. I hope that this will happen in this instance.
PHASA objected to the appearance of this news item on the TGA Faceook Page on the grounds that (1) the hunting of canned lions is ‘illegal’ and (2) that neither PHASA nor CHASA ‘embrace’ this practice. So the statement was untrue. And, for the record, neither does the TGA endorse the practice of ‘canned’ lion hunting. This terminology – ‘canned’ lion hunting – implies the shooting (execution) of captive bred lions in small enclosures – which precludes the possibility of a fair chase hunt. And (I am told) it was because the term “canned lion hunting” was used by the media, and within the CIC’s proceedings, that the expulsion order was first applied and then confirmed.
This emphasizes the point that the world of wildlife management, to avoid incidents of this nature, needs to adopt a vocabulary the words of which everybody in society accepts and understands. For example, the word ‘conservation’ means the ‘sustainable use of a wild living resource for the benefit of mankind’; and yet the animal rightists, whose purpose in life is to abolish all animal ‘uses’ by man, call themselves ‘conservationists’. By doing so, of course, the animal rightists confuse society with regards to their real purpose in life, and that is their contrived purpose.
The unfortunate term – ‘canned lion hunting’ – is now used as a weapon by the anti-hunting animal rights brigade to stir up high public emotions with the purpose of encouraging the general public to reject of ALL hunting practices. And it is an unfortunate fact that many people in the media – those that are fellow travelers of the animal rights brigade – eagerly use this term in support of the animal rightists’ intentions; and to denigrate hunting. In effect, this tells us that many journalists no longer report ‘just the facts’ of a newsworthy story but ‘their own interpretations of the facts’ and that misleads the public greatly. This can be done in a very subtle manner such as, for example, referring to the so-called hunting of captive bred lions as ‘canned lion hunting’.
Society and the media need to understand that hunting is an essential wildlife management tool. It is the only way that wild animals can be harvested by man. In the same way that taking them to an abattoir for slaughter, is the only way that domestic animals can, and are, harvested by man. And the implications to wildlife, of denying game ranchers and hunters the right to control wild animal numbers, and to provide game ranchers with an income, would be disastrous for our wildlife and for our wildlife industry. Furthermore, society – no matter what their feelings on this subject – must understand that there are just as many people who enjoy hunting, as there are people who are repelled by it. Furthermore, hunting is legal. So the anti-hunters have no right to interfere with the legitimate rights of the pro-hunters. And hunting lions – whether they be wild lions or captive bred lions – fall into this bracket. The TGA, therefore, very strongly supports the practice of legal hunting.
The TGA has already expressed its view that it considers the breeding of lions for meat, and/or for the lion-bone-trade in the Far East, is no different from breeding a domesticated Brahman ox for slaughter for local human consumption. And breeding lions for the meat or bone trade is legal! We are not, therefore, prepared to argue this point with anyone because those who agree with us, or who oppose us, are merely expressing their personal preferences on the matter – and everyone has the right to his own opinion. The TGA has here, right now, expressed its opinion on this matter.
People in the pro-captive-bred-lion-hunting camp, and those in the anti-captive-bred-lion-hunting camp, have been at pains to get the TGA to ‘take sides’ by proclaiming its support for the one or the other. There is, however, a dearth of information on this subject – not nearly enough for the TGA to make an honest decision at this time – and what there is, is both good and bad. No one can rely on what the press says. No one can rely on the animal rights propaganda because it is full of carefully contrived lies and personal opinions. Furthermore, the Lion Farmers don’t say very much – understandably – because whatever they say, or do, is twisted out of reality and context by the animal rightists and by the press. There is no way that the TGA can pass any kind of constructive judgment on this matter, therefore, despite much pressure to do so. We have, therefore, agreed to carry out an in-depth inspection of the Captive Lion Breeding Industry as a whole during which we will, hopefully, be exposed to all its good, bad and ugly aspects. I will be conducting this inspection myself – and I have considerable free-range fair-chase lion hunting experience with which to compare my findings. I must report that I am getting the full cooperation of the lion breeders and lion hunters in the industry. So hopefully, one day soon, I will be able to release an objective report on South Africa’s Captive Lion Breeding Industry to the public. And we will be going into this project with an open mind.
 ANYONE is welcome to provide me with their views on this industry whenever they wish to do so.

Ron Thomson

I am NOT a ‘trophy hunter’ - and never have been. I am not involved in the trophy hunting safari business. I am also not a game rancher. But I have ‘administratively controlled’ professional hunters and safari outfitters in my capacity as a government game warden. I am an 80 year old ex-game warden with 60 years of continuous experience in hands-on wildlife management, and national park management, in Africa (1959 to 2019). In breakdown, I have 24 years experience in the management of national parks in Rhodesia/Zimbabwe - and in the management of the wild animal populations that lived inside those national parks; one year as the Chief Nature Conservation of the Ciskei in South Africa; three years as Director of the Bophuthatswana National Parks Board in South Africa; and I worked for three years as a professional hunter in the South African Great Karoo (taking foreign hunters on quests for plains game trophies). I discovered, however, that professional hunting was not my forte. I worked as an investigative wildlife journalist for 30 years in South Africa. I have written fifteen books and hundreds of magazine articles on the subject of wildlife management and big game hunting in Africa. Five of my books are university-level text books on wildlife management. I am a university-trained ecologist; was a member of the Institute of Biology (London) for 20 years; and was a registered chartered biologist for the European Union for 20 years. I have VAST experience in the “management hunting” of elephants, buffaloes, lions, leopards and hippos (as part of my official national park work in the control of problem animals); and I pioneered the capture of black rhino in Zimbabwe’s Zambezi Valley (1964 - 1970). My university thesis was entitled: “The Factors Affecting the Survival and Distribution of Black Rhinos in Rhodesia”. Look at my personal website if you want any further details about my experience:

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3 thoughts on “Offensive AOL Media Release Deleted from TGA’s Facebook Page

  • It is sad to see the ARA message being adopted by those within the hunting community. I see the term “canned lion hunting” being regurgitated by many hunters and even hunting organizations that either do not understand that “canned lion hunting” is illegal or are willfully abusing the term for their own selfish agenda.
    Either way, by misusing the term, they are being divisive and hurting the sustainable use of hunting by playing into the rhetoric of the ARA.

    • I agree with Cliff Tulpa – which means we ourselves have to be careful not to be guilty of the same mistakes. RT

  • I saw this in facebook > ;to me it was a utter disappointment ; I am a registered dedicated hunter having done my first hunting in mozambique where I grew up learning from shangaan trackers and playing with bow and arrows, air guns , .22lr and shot guns as a school kid ;in south africa I have been venison hunting for meat and biltong since the early 1980’s ; personnally I did not even know that as claimed in the AG article Chasa (whom my membership club is affiliated) might have been embroiled with this issue of apparently standing for ? or supporting ? “sustainable clh”. It is enough to have to deal with the FCA , DFO’s licenses ,relicenses and all the frustations of keeping my rifles and FA’s legal ; now it seems I might also have to start worrying about hunting confederation/ associations like chasa and face up arguments with the bunny huggers and animal rightists about this crap of clh.


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