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Can we interest you in a lion while you are here?

The long-awaited day has finally arrived – the beginning of the World Cup in South Africa becomes reality. Thirty-two nations have reached this stage, and it is fascinating to look at the animal names of the national teams – from Africa we have Les Elephants (Cote d’Ivoire), the Indomitable Lions (Cameroon), the Super Eagles (Nigeria), and the Desert Foxes (Algeria). From the Asia/Pacific we have the Socceroos (Australia) and the Tigers of Asia (South Korea), and from Europe the Three Lions (England), the White Eagles (Serbia), and the Green Dragons (Slovenia). And the Dutch team wear a lion on their jerseys.

Add that to being in South Africa where national and private reserves abound near the match locations, and as an avid hunter you could be excused for developing an itchy trigger finger and needing some therapy.

Not to worry. An article in the June 10 Sun reports your good friends in the South African canned hunting industry are ready to add to your fun and games off the field. Watch a match in Johannesburg and then do visit Serapa Safaris, where you can shoot a lion for $25,000 – you might even be able to call ahead and arrange your “hunt” to take only a few hours out of your busy schedule. Or, if your budget is a bit tight and you are looking for a bargain, do visit Cheetau Safaris where the owners are offering a special World Cup deal – two for one – a male and a female for a discount price of $22,000. Or make your own deal – after all, there are about 120 lion breeders in South Africa, and as the owner of Cheetau blitheley remarked – if we don’t market our hunts around the World Cup, someone else will.

But this is not really the point is it? I have written previously about this cynical practice of breeding lions for hunting, and now it seems the breeders are willing to call it what it is – entertainment.

The practice of canned hunting of lions was challenged in the South African courts, but the decision to can it was overturned on appeal. Despite what the sane majority in the world thinks of it, and that even includes many “ethical” hunters, the practice will continue. I will say it again – the only way to stop the practice in its tracks is for European nations as a start to ban the import of ALL lion products – trophies, skins, claws. It can be done, and thank you to Oliver Harvey and the Sun for their article that will hopefully set another stone in this particular wall.

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