In Africa, it is estimated that around 12,000 lions are being bred in captivity, purely so that they can be hunted and shot down by tourists. In Lord Ashcroft’s latest book, the horrors of the hunting have been detailed.
Lord Ashcroft, a businessman and philanthropist, travelled to the continent of Africa in order to investigate how many of the beautiful creatures were being killed for these ‘canned hunts’ or for the bone trade.
In his new book ‘Unfair Game: An Exposé of South Africa’s Captive-Bred Lion Industry‘, Ashcroft discussed the concern that there are approximately 12,000 captive-bred lions in South Africa alone. This is four times higher the number of wild lions.
An excerpt of his novel was published in the Daily Mail, he wrote: “It is no exaggeration to say that the abuse of lions in South Africa has become an industry.
“Thousands are bred on farms every year; they are torn away from their mothers when they are just days old, used as pawns in the tourist sector and then either killed in a ‘hunt’ or simply slaughtered for their bones and other body parts, which are very valuable in Asia’s so-called medicine market.”
Ashcroft then went on to explain that during their time in captivity, they are poorly fed, are kept often in small and cramped living conditions that are of poor hygiene, frequently drugged, and are beaten if they don’t perform for the tourists.
He continued: “This sinister system has sprouted up in plain sight in South Africa, inflicting misery on this most noble of beasts on an unimaginable scale.
“My research suggests it is highly likely that there are now at least 12,000 captive-bred lions in the country, against a wild population of just 3,000. Yet, strikingly, just a small number of people – a few hundred – profit from this abusive set-up. Thanks to South Africa’s constitution and laws, they seem able to operate as they wish.”
To gather as much information for his investigation, Ashcroft commissioned two undercover operations: Operation Simba and Operation Chastise. When the evidence was gathered together, the evidence concluded that the majestic creatures were being bred in captivity and then being illegally killed by a pack of dogs.
Ashcroft also warned that due to the bone trade being prominent in South Africa, this could potentially lead to another public health crisis, similar to the “coronavirus-style pandemic”.
In the Far East, lion’s bones are highly sought after and people believe that they are great for use in medicines or as an aphrodisiac. Just one lion’s carcass can be purchased for up to thousands of pounds. Their bones are then turned into cake or wine.
Alongside his new book which will have proceeds going to wildlife charities in South Africa, Ashcroft is campaigning to have captive-bred farming banned in the country.
He stated: “Lion farming shames South Africa, a country that I have loved visiting for many years. It’s time to recognise that it is a cruel and barbaric industry which has no place in the 21st century.”