TGA Response to “Call for permanent ban on wildlife trade in China”.

By Ron Thomson

I note that the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) readily identifies with this article!

There are two opinions pertaining to “the use of wildlife”.  One is that man has no right to ‘use’ wild animals for his own benefit.  The other is that man has every right to ‘use’ animals – wild or domestic: provided

(1) no cruelty is involved in such use; and provided

(2) the practice is sustainable.

South Africa’s wildlife culture (since the Game Theft Act was promulgated in 1991) is 100 percent ‘commercial’. Proof of its success lies in the fact that wildlife on private land (since 1991) has increased from 500 000 animals to over 20 million; that many species that were facing extinction are now SAFE (and being hunted); and that the many animal species that were once scarce are now plentiful.

This success has happened only because the Game Theft Act allows land owners to buy and to sell their privately-owned wild animals; because they are able to offer hunters amazing hunting opportunities; and because they are now allowed to trade in live wild animals and in animal products.

South Africa’s National Conservation Strategy (NCS) is molded on the World Conservation Strategy (WCS) (1980) – which emphasizes that wildlife will only survive if it is harvested in a sustainable manner and if both man-and-nature benefit equally therefrom. So much was this statement taken to heart that, in 1980, the WCS was declared to be the ‘blue-print’ that would take man and nature together, into posterity, in symbiotic harmony. And the responsible nations of the world obligated themselves to model their national conservation strategy on the WCS template.  Today South Africa’s wildlife legislation still takes cognizance of WCS wisdom

For a South African NGO (like the EWT) to encourage a major foreign power (like China) to impose a permanent ban on the importation of this country’s wildlife and wildlife products, therefore, is tantamount to treason.

NGOs who oppose sustainable use-of-wildlife are called ‘animal rightists’ – and it is their purpose in life to ABOLISH all animal ‘uses’ by man.  The views allegedly expressed in this article by the EWT identify the NGO as being animal rightist.

In this article – with which the EWT has identified – trade is portrayed as being a threat to wildlife but THAT is what wildlife management is all about.  Wildlife managers make sure that animal harvests are ‘sustainable’ – which means wise harvesting does NOT place wildlife in jeopardy.

If this report is a reflection of the sentiments of the EWT – and their attitude towards South Africa’s wildlife industry – I would suggest that the Minister of Environmental Affairs consider – forthwith – denying the EWT access to any and to all official wildlife management debates because the EWT clearly does NOT support our NCS or our Wildlife Industry.

Inviting animal rights delegates to official wildlife management debates is tantamount to inviting paedophiles and rapists to conferences that are designed to improve the laws protecting women and children from abuse (by such people).

Methinks, therefore, that by identifying itself with this article the EWT has hung itself by its own petard.

Read the Farmers Weekly article here


  1. The entire question of mankind ‘Using’ Wildlife and to his own ends is a deeply flawed and pointless argument. It barely justifies a response.
    The only possible route to a sustainable course of Wildlife management is that the entire initiative has to be self funding. Quid pro quo; Man uses wildlife to provide the funds to manage and maintain that wildlife and so that those of us who take a pleasure in and support wildlife have an eventual end result – – the support of Wildlife.
    There’s an alternative route;
    Those who would banish trophy hunting provide the funds to manage and nurture the very Wildlife which we all treasure – – AND they provide compensation by way of work to those who are currently managing the situation – culls will take continue to place, it’s all cyclical ……..

  2. Keep talking. Invite the EWT to all meetings. When the dialogue stops there can never be understanding. Find the common ground between differences and build on it.
    Trophy hunter, lived in Africa for 5 years, travel and hunt still in Africa.

    • If you think you can “persuade” an animal rightists to our (sustainable-use) philosophy, you are living in a fool’s paradise. Just as you will never ‘persuade’ a paedophile or a rapist to provide constructive suggestions, at meetings, that will improve the laws that protect women and children against abuse by paedophiles and rapists. If this regard there IS no “common ground” between the likes of the EWT and the TGA. Our brains are totally polarized. The best thing you can do is to refuse them access to ‘our’ debate.
      Ron Thomson

  3. Rienie Denner

    I’ve thought long and hard about this one. Maybe I’m off the track, but I am dead honest when I state that I do not like the way live animals are treated at Chinese wet markets, even if it is said that the trade is completely sustainable and legal (which I doubt it is). I also do not approve the consumption of live animals. In my book that does not qualify as ethical behaviour. I think one should have respect for all forms of life (whether it be tadpole, octopus, rat, pangolin or dog), and eating those alive or keeping them alive so they can be slaughtered at the table of the guest dining at an exotic restaurant doesn’t, in my book, qualify as ethical behaviour towards life, no matter how sustainable the practice may seem. I’m not an expert in this field, but as far as I know animals secrete stress hormones when they are subjected to certain environments, especially where they get hurt and/or die. My dog starts shivering every time I take her to the vet. Maybe all the dogs and cats that have been treated there in the past, leave some pheromone of ‘stress’, pain or discomfort behind that human fail to detect? Anyway, many types of animals’ sense of smell is super-sensitive, far better than we can ever imagine. I think many of those live animals at wet markets ‘know’ they’re going to be slaughtered because they smell death. I also do not think live animals at wet markets are treated with the dignity they deserve before they are killed. I will never approve keeping and killing animals in such circumstances, even if sustainability can be proven beyond doubt. In my opinion it demonstrates nothing less than gross disrespect for life!

  4. I absolutely agree with Rienie. I am 83 years old, a retired professional hunter and I shoot and eat certain wild animals for personal consumption. The meat is healthy, cholesterol-free and has not been fed on hormones or dosed for various diseases. But I cook it!!
    However, I absolutely condemn the Chinese and other Asian habits of eating live animals including dogs and cats.
    I don,t care if that is called “sustainable use” or any other name – it is unethical and inhumane. It appears that it can cause diseases as well. There must be a line drawn somewhere.
    John Coleman

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