Picture: AP/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Johannesburg - The Blood Lions Campaign on Wednesday welcomed the North Gauteng High Court's setting aside of former minister Edna Molewa’s 2017 and 2018 quotas for the exportation of lion bones.

On Tuesday, the court ruled that the quota set in 2017 on 800 lion bones and the 2018 quota of 1 500 lion bones was unlawful and constitutionally invalid.

Blood Lions in a statement said Tuesday's judgment was a victory for the predators as well as animal welfare organisations. 

"Today is a good one for lions and all those opposed to the predator breeding, canned hunting and exploitative tourism industries. In this ruling handed down yesterday [Tuesday] in favour of the National Council of SPCAs (NSPCA), the predator breeding industry and government can no longer ignore animal welfare considerations. 

"The ruling also questions the unilateral decision-making process the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) had used with regards to awarding lion bone quotas. The NSPCA and all those that supported them deserve significant credit for following through with this case.

The organisation further added that: "Other than those directly involved, which includes their hard-core ‘sustainable use’ sympathisers, every other stakeholder warned the then minister against the 2017 and 2018 quotas. 

"This ruling will hopefully spark an entirely new discussion around these horrific industries and the awarding of lion bone quotas. 

"It’s worth pointing out that the South African Predator Breeders Association (SAPA) do not speak for the majority of South Africans or the recognised lion conservation community, and that they are only concerned about the commercial interests of their tiny membership. 

"In addition, past bone quotas were awarded without scientific merit or any welfare considerations, and it would seem the most recent research used by government agencies seems to have been done in order to justify quotas on a retrospective basis.

Blood Lions again called for an end to the "exploitative breeding and use of predators under captive conditions". 

They also called on the current Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Barbara Creecy to undertake industry-wide consultations, including with those within the welfare and wider lion conservation community.

Also welcoming Tuesday's ruling was the NSPCA, which brought the case against Molewa, saying it has broader implications for the welfare of wild animals – both wild populations and captive wild animals.

“We are overjoyed that the importance of animal welfare, and the vital and legal role of the NSPCA in protecting captive and wild animals, has been recognised in this precedent setting judgement. One cannot simply use, abuse, and trade wildlife without considering their welfare and well-being” said manager of the NSPCA’s Wildlife Trade and Trafficking Portfolio Karen Trendler.

IOL