The English version of the TGA Open Letter to BEELD Newspaper

This article is prompted by a feature that appeared in Beeld on 17th September, 2020, written by Elise Tempelhoff, entitled (in Afrikaans) Creecy says yes to trophy hunting. The subheading reads: Ministers decision does not make senseAnd immediately I have to ask whose opinion is that?” 

Tempelhoff quotes the words of a notorious animal rightist, Michele Pickover, in an attempt to create the impression that her (Tempelhoffs) statements are undisputable and accepted facts. They are far from that!

Hunting, which Tempelhoff denigrates, is a recognised human instinct and it is acknowledged by many renowned psychologists as being beneficial to both human mental and physical health.  In South Africa hunting is properly controlled.  It is based on sound scientific research and knowledge and it is a thoroughly acceptable and very long-standing social activity. Hunting is also, world-wide, an important wildlife management tool.  It is, therefore, of benefit to wildlife because it properly regulates wild animal population numbers. It is the principle method of harvesting wild animals. Why then, would the minister, after conducting very wide consultations with leading stakeholders in the wildlife industry, make decisions that do not make sense?

Tempelhoff begins her article by declaring that conservation organisationsagree with her anti-hunting and anti-sustainable-use sentiments. This needs clarification. Tempelhoff discussed her views only with animal rights organisationswho denounce true conservation. Conservationimplies, inter alia, the sustainable use of wild animal populations and that includes hunting.  Tempelhoff, therefore, would not consult with true conservationists.

In pursuing this disguise, into believing that her whole world in which she is endeavouring to absorb her acute opposition by default – agrees with her crude generalisations. They dont!

The EMS Foundation, EWT, IFAW, WWF and the National SPCA, and many other prominent NGOs, operate under the pretext of being animal welfarein orientation.  But, in fact, they are outspoken animal rightists. In most cases, the main purpose of these NGOs is to make money out of our gullible public. It has nothing to do with establishing best practicewildlife management.

Animal welfare organisations are concerned that when animals are used by man no cruelty is involved in that use. Animal rights organisations strive to ABOLISH all animal uses by man.  They are not one and the same thing.

To say that all hunting should be banned, disregards the great contribution that hunting makes to modern day ecosystem management and it ignores the importance of maintaining centuries-old traditions and cultures that are part of South Africas history. Tempelhoff thinks she knows best because she has a personal preference abhorrence of hunting. Her article is so chronically biased, however, that it gives no credence at all to traditional land use principles. No domestic stock farmer would allow his livestock to deplete pastoral food resources on which his cattle, sheep and goats depend for their survival; and no game rancher will allow that to happen either

The author uses emotionally charged words such as woedend(furious/enraged) doodskiet(shoot dead/kill) instead of hunt which has a long tradition all over the world. And hunting provides healthy food with a low carbon imprintwhich is good but it is not mentioned by Tempelhoff. Her style of writing, therefore, attempts to evoke sensation in the minds of her readers.

Stating that elephants are on the brink of extinction is simply also not true. Indeed, all the elephant reserves in southern Africa are currently exceeding their elephant carrying capacities by as much as ten or twenty times. And they are destroying their habitats.

Over the last sixty years nearly 100 percent of all the top canopy trees in the Kruger National Park woodland habitats, for example, have been destroyed by too many elephants. And all the animals which were adapted to Krugers top canopy tree habitats slipped into extinction when their habitat disappeared.  Elephants in Botswana are said to be dying of starvation.

Elises recent article is again altogether one-sided. Once again, she only quotes notorious dyed in the wool animal rights activists like Michelle Pickover of the EMS Foundation. Pickover claims that trophy hunting does not contribute to conservation (whatever that means) and that these animals are only hunted for pleasure, money and the desire to dominate. This personal opinion is highlighted in bold.

These opinions are repeated ad nauseam by the people of the animal rights brigade – everywhere. The repetition has become boring. It is no doubt designed to sensationalise issues that are particularly dear to the anti-hunters hearts. They are mantra, however, with no objectivity. And to end her diatribe with a quote from Jill McKie of Campaign to Ban Trophy Hunting– who says that Ms Creecys decision to allow limited elephant and leopard hunting in South Africa is disgusting– is, to my mind, in very bad taste.

The editor of one of our so-called respectedAfrikaans newspapers (Beeld), should REALLY consider publishing more balanced reporting than this Tempelhoff dissertation. He would gain far greater respect from his readership than he does when he allows the publication of only destructive views from rabid animal rights activists.   

Elma Britz 

(Director of The True Green Alliance of South Africa.

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