SA youth support government’s decision to ban captive lion breeding
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DURBAN: South African youth from the Youth For Lions campaign have voiced their support for the decision made by the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment (DFFE), to put an end to captive lion breeding in the country.
Minister Barbara Creecy made the announcement to ban breeding lions in captivity for hunting last month.
This comes after the findings of the High-Level Panel (HLP) report, which recommended that South Africa should no longer breed captive lions, keep lions in captivity, or use captive lions or their derivatives commercially.
The aim of the Youth For Lions campaign, which is a is a sub-campaign of Blood Lions, is to educate the world’s youth about how cub petting, walking with predators and volunteering at predator farms is enabling and contributing to the wider captive predator breeding industry in South Africa.
Campaign co-ordinator Cath Jakins said the minister and the government were listening now more than ever before to the public discourse around these issues.
“We have been lobbying the government to make changes to their policies for years, so now that they have started listening and responding with positive action, we need to take the opportunity to thank them.
“We need them to know that this decision, as contentious as it may seem, is an extremely positive step in the right direction,” she said.
Jakins said both Youth For Lions and affiliate Blood Lions, which is a campaign that sheds light on this issue, had offered their full support to Creecy in developing and implementing a responsible, phased-out plan to ensure that the commercial predator breeding industry is successfully closed down in the country.
“It is going to be a tough road ahead, but we as the youth stand in full support of this decision,” said Jakins.
Stephanie-Emmy Klarmann, who is also an ambassador for the campaign, said while this decision was likely to receive backlash, it was another step towards dismantling old exploitive ways that no longer deserved a place in SA.
“Like so many other instances of exploitation and injustice, we as South Africans are no strangers to pushing against this and we can now proudly say that this is one of the most beautiful countries to live in,” she said.
Youth For Lions ambassador Makaira Kerkhof, said : “The recent decision made by government to halt the captive lion breeding in South Africa has motivated me to keep on striving for what is right so that we can end the suffering of lions in captivity.”
Over 2500 young people from around the world have signed the Youth Pledge committing not to supporting animal interaction and captive facilities that exploit wildlife among other initiatives.
Youth For Lions said Youth Day in SA was a day to pay tribute to the youth and recognise their power to initiate change.