Today we received our copy of “Unfair Game” written by Michael Ashcroft, KCMG, PC.
Not your average author – among a long list of achievements he was a deputy chairman of the British Conservative Party, current vice-chancellor of Anglia Ruskin University, knighted in 2000 and made a life peer (Lord Ashcroft of Chichester).
And this is not an average book. Well researched (thank you Miles Goslett) and well-written, it details the horrendous South African captive bred lion industry – from bottle fed “orphans” to cubs to be petted and paraded at weddings, to older lions to be walked, to eventually be trophy hunted – and now, just sold for the Asian bone trade.
Investigative and undercover work detailed in the book reveals much about this sordid South African industry supported by politicians and lobbied for by breeders, “professional hunters”, and even the breeding facilities themselves that gain much lucre from visitors wanting to pose for a selfish selfie with lion cubs. The book details much of the people actually involved in this industry devoid of any morals, ethics, animal welfare standards.
We could be biased, but we don't believe so,as we are mentioned individually and as LionAid in the book – and we are proud of the contribution we delivered.
The book does not make easy reading. It reveals once again (as many have before) the horror show of captive lion breeding. The book does not go much into the economics of the legal and illegal trade of lion products, but we have estimated that a single male lion, from cub to trophy, is about $170,000. A bit less now as trophy hunting is not so popular, but actually most of the value of the lion comes a live value - petting and walking with tourists and with gullible “volunteers”.
Lord Ashcroft estimates there are about 12,000 lions captive bred in cages these days. We agree. The industry is out of control, unregulated, horrendous. With our estimate of the potential income from a single lion, the industry these days would be worth at least $12 billion. Hello?
We do hope you will purchase and read this book. And that therefore the book will make a difference – Lord Ashcroft has stated that all royalties will go to conservation charities. We also hope that Lord Ashcroft will consider these facts – defeating captive lion breeding and associated profits will not come from within South Africa alone. The business is too well established, too lucrative, too politically supported, too well underpinned by corruption. Lord Ashcroft writes about this well when his investigative team attempts to deliver evidence of illegal activities to high-level South African police officers…
We do hope that this book will make a difference to nations (including the UK) to ban the import of hunting trophies and other products from South African captive bred lions. We do hope that Botswana will take note (once again) of the lucrative and illegal trade of lion products and lion cubs across the border to South Africa. We do hope that “volunteers” will steer clear of ANY South African destination promising any interactions with lion cubs. We do hope that organizations recruiting such volunteers will cease associations with such destinations no matter how lucrative. We do hope that the UK will start paying attention to the weaknesses and loopholes provided by CITES and use best efforts to make amends.
We thank Lord Ashcroft for focusing this book on lions – poor cousins to elephants, rhinos, tigers in terms of needed public conservation attention. And we look forward to working together to end this horrible chapter of human abuse of lions for commercial profit by all means. The value of a book is both the educational content and subsequent progress towards the problems identified.
Don't forget to sign our petition here, calling on the UK Government to ban lion hunting trophy imports.
You can purchase the book HERE and if you simply enter the code ‘LA47’ when prompted at the checkout, you will receive the special price of £11.99.