TGA: Open Letter to Director General CIC and President Dallas Safari Club

Attention

Mr Tamás Marghescu – Director General CIC

Mr Mark Little – President Dallas Safari Club

Re : Your document – Joint statement on South Africa’s captive bred lion shooting.

I have read the emails which passed between yourselves and Stephen Palos to which I do not want to comment. Nevertheless, every letter that I see passing between your hunter groups in America and Europe, and the South Africans, nobody makes any mention of the most fundamental difference between you all. And that is the nature of your wildlife cultures. And you never ever mention the fact that, as hunters and gentlemen, you should agree to respect and to honour each other’s cultures. In the 1980s, there was also no vacant land on which to accommodate the surviving numbers of wildlife. So, South African land owners said they would pay for the game recoveries if government would agree to give them ownership of the wildlife on their land. And that is what happened. And that is why the wildlife industry in South Africa became commercial. Our wildlife culture is commercial.

Over the last 30 years 10 000 new game ranches have been constructed and game stocks of all species have soared to 22 million. America’s wildlife culture is “anti-marketing hunting”. In America you can shoot a white-tailed deer, take the carcass home, and then eat it. Or you can give it away. But God help you if to are caught selling any part of it.

South Africa was forced to change direction drastically in the 1980s. When it was discovered that only 500 000 animals of all species had survived the first half of the 20 Century.

The Americans, however, still vilify South African hunters because they, say, we are all immoral. We are immoral because, they say, we “make money” out of our wildlife. When are they going to get real? Making money out of our wildlife has saved South African wildlife from extinction!

My biggest concern about CIC & Dallas is that you guys are believing all the guff that you are fed by “The Custodians” who are people who tore PHASA apart because the CBL lions were out competing the Custodian’s wild lion safari businesses in Tanzania. The breakup of PHASA was all about money.

The True Green Alliance (TGA) is standing here ready to escort you through the Wildlife Industry channels. Come and see for yourselves how game farming and hunting is done in South Africa in the modern day and age.

Ron Thomson. CEO TGA

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: www.ronthomsonshuntingbooks.co.za.

Ron Thomson has 195 posts and counting. See all posts by Ron Thomson

3 thoughts on “TGA: Open Letter to Director General CIC and President Dallas Safari Club

  • November 22, 2020 at 5:27 am
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    That is very true we have different cultures and we are THE hunting destination of the world , did you ask yourself why South Africa is the Hunting destination of the world , you Safari Club International should respect that as we do!

    Reply
  • November 22, 2020 at 11:08 am
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    Here we have a case of hunting organisations that have just shot themselves up their own fundament with 50 calibre ignorance and cowardice. How sad to see such yellow, gutless behaviour in the face of a storm.
    Lions are charismatic and their farming and hunting is the often lucrative subject of a perfect social media storm – used by vegans, vegetarians, anti-hunters, animal rights campaigners, film makers, huggers, writers of eco-porn, charlatans, extinction rebels, neo-Marxists, donation harvesters and Uncle Tom Cobley and all. They all have one thing in common. It’s not about lions, its always about them. Talk about a feeding frenzy! They are feeding ON lions, not helping them. It is a media storm and the answer is to ride it out, not run away whimpering.

    The “joint statement” is a bizarre collection of mis-statements:

    1. Confuses lion farming with hunting, falling into the trap set by opponents. It infers that every type and quality of the lion farming industry is the same, from the worst criminal enterprises to the better quality operations that are at least as good as, if not better, than any other intensively raised livestock world-wide. Does a male calf, separated from its mother, kept in a shed and chopped up for veal have a better life? This is clearly nonsense and refuses to recognise those responsible lion farmers who bust a gut trying to do the right thing, while recognising only the criminals.
    It makes you wonder why the hard working responsible lion farmers bother (and at that moment, you see how the moral shock propaganda and intimidation works) It makes no effort to separate the various strata of welfare. Farming is farming. It raises and sells lions. Hunting is something else.

    2. Makes the claim that the industry is not responsible, is unsustainable and does not constitute fair chase. The accusation of irresponsibility is a lazy and stupid generalisation, like saying shop owners are responsible for shoplifting.
    To say that it is unsustainable where there are 10,000 lions in private hands is ridiculous, and more ominously, to kill off lion farming (by removing the market) will sentence those 10,000 lions to death. A lion, born in captivity but unhabituated to humans, that has been released into a few thousand acres and is living well and feeding itself is still a CB lion. However, once feral, to walk and stalk it would be no different to hunting any other kind of lion. The “statement 2” therefore falls on all three points.

    3. Claims it is contrary to the IUCN resolution. But the IUCN resolution is based on the same misunderstanding and PR trap that this joint statement fell into.

    4. Claims that it damages the reputation of all hunters. Here is the crux of the matter. This is about the organisations and their “public standing”, not about conserving lions.
    Instead of dropping their trousers and bending over for the misleading public campaigns, the hunters should fight back on two fronts like the men they claim to be. First, stand together to do something positive for hunting and for lions, not throw the towel in and join in the wave of ignorant negativity washing about among people who couldn’t tell a lion from an ostrich. Second, fiercely support those lion farmers who are trying thanklessly to improve matters rather than stab them in the back, and at the same time put the worst welfare offenders and criminal shooters out of business.

    5. Calls on governments to consider “the wider implications”. So now governments have to throw reality out of the window and conduct matters according to emotional social media campaigns that have nothing to do with reality? There is a difference between democracy and mob rule. Governments should count the lions in Africa, look at where they live, whee they are increasing, and do the maths.

    6. Discourages members from shooting captive bred lions. Since lions are dangerous creatures and have to be fenced by law, it follows that in a sense, every hunt-able lion in South Africa is captive bred. I refer you to my comment in 2 above about the walk and stalk of a feral lion.

    I am not a hunter but I believe that lion farming, when done properly with DNA registers, stud books and agricultural standards of welfare, has a huge part to play in lion (and lion DNA) conservation as well as the economic welfare of rural areas. As you have said many times, Ron, lions are like any other cats; they immediately turn feral if released into suitable habitat.

    Since the “joint statement” is inexplicable and devoid of much factual content, I can only presume that it is a pathetic, grovelling gift laid down before the incoming US President in the vain hope that his attention will be diverted away from the trophy hunting industry.

    Reply
  • November 25, 2020 at 3:28 pm
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    Well said Ron. In the hunting world there is no room for small-mindedness and lack of awareness of the detrimental effect which animal activists have on our hunting businesses and lifestyles. All focus should be on combatting the animal activists, NOT quarrelling amongst ourselves.

    We cannot put a “kinder” fact to hunting and killing animals to people who abhor animal killing and who are disconnected from the natural world, brought up with dogs and cats and stories of Yogi Bear and Bunny Rabbit.

    We must focus on our rights to sustainable hunting through the courts and stop quibbling about semantics, the same as those with differing sexual preferences obtained their personal freedom. They didn’t expect anyone to like what they did, nor did they try to bring “ethics” or personal beliefs and preferences into argument, or try to change their behaviour to make it more acceptable.

    They just went for the throat.

    Reply

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