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Durban: 15 March 2014

Today, in 62 cities around the world, people of all colour and creed are marching in protest. We are marching on behalf of those who have no voice. Those who are abused; caged; hunted and killed. We are marching on behalf of the hundreds of lions facing a brutal life and undignified death to satisfy the monster of Canned Lion Hunting.

The IFP is marching because we share the concern of men and women who fear for our lions’ future. We thank God for people who have sleepless nights worrying about the fate and the treatment of our lions, and who act on their behalf.

Many believe that the level of enlightenment in any society can be measured by how its people treat animals. It is a severe indictment on South Africa that our Government has failed to protect the king of the beasts. They have failed to stand up for his right to life. In so doing, they have failed us all.

They have ignored the voice of the voiceless for too long. I wonder how they will ignore the voice of hundreds of us from the streets of Durban, the streets of Cape Town, the streets of Port Elizabeth, and Pietermaritzburg? We join the voices echoing from cities across the world. We will not be silenced.

We cannot be silenced, for we speak on behalf of the lion. We must roar, where he cannot. We are his voice.

Knowing this to be true, the IFP took up the fight and tabled a Motion in Parliament supporting today’s Global March, and calling on Government to ban the cowardly practice of canned lion hunting. We declared in Parliament that trophy hunting is, as the Kenyan Government so aptly put it, “a barbaric relic of colonialism”.

It must go. It is wrong.

I am pleased to say that we won a decisive victory for our lions. On Thursday this week, Parliament adopted the IFP’s motion supporting the Global March Against Canned Lion Hunting.

Parliament has urged Government to immediately amend South African law to give the highest and most stringent measure of protection to our wildlife, particularly the lion, the elephant and the rhino.

This is a great victory.

We call on Government to recognise its duty: the duty to protect our wildlife and preserve the heritage of our children. We call on Government to consider the significant effect that its inertia is having on tourism to South Africa. The revenue our country draws from trophy hunters is nothing compared to the revenue we lose from people who reject South Africa, because of the way we treat our lions.

And it’s nothing compared to what we lose in our souls. For, surely, to condemn our lions to such a devastating fate, South Africa must surrender part of her soul.

Our lions are our nation’s treasure, our heritage. They have been entrusted to us and we have the privilege of sharing the soil they walked long before we arrived.

The leader of the IFP has given us a great example. Over many years, Prince Buthelezi has won international acclaim for his work in conservation. He respects our environment and has played a leading role in protecting South Africa’s population of rhino and elephant. Today, he fights for our lions.

On behalf of the Inkatha Freedom Party, and its President, Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, I petition Government to do the right thing. Ban canned lion hunting. Stop the carnage. Honour our lions.

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Posted by Chris Macsween at 13:21

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