Pieter's Blog

Welcome to Pieter Kat's official LionAid blog. Here you can follow Pieter's opinions, thoughts, insights and ideas on saving lions.

In a recent article in the South African Mail and Guardian newspaper, the potentially very destructive (but entirely legal) trade in lion bones to Asia was discussed. One of the people interviewed was Professor Pieter Potgieter, the Chairman of the South African Predator Breeders' Association, a consistent proponent of the right to breed lions for canned hunting purposes.

 

According to the article, Potgieter defended the industry saying there is little difference between breeding lions and any other mammal. "Chickens are killed by humans. How are lions different from them?" he asked.


"In principle a lion is not more or less than a crocodile, an ostrich or a butterfly. It's a form of life. Breeding animals for human exploitation is a natural human process," he said.


Potgieter said that breeding and hunting lions was only deplorable in the eyes of the public because a "sympathetic myth has been created about the lion as the king of the animals".

 

To be helpful in telling the difference between a lion and a chicken, we have provided the Professor with a picture of a chicken (above). We would also remind the Professor that last time we checked the taxonomy of chickens, they were listed with ostriches as birds, not mammals. We believe crocodiles are reptiles, and butterflies are insects, but perhaps not in South Africa?

 

So what is the difference between a lion bred in captivity and a chicken bred in captivity? The Professor’s answers indicate that he might be a closet philosopher, or perhaps a closet Buddhist. The answer is actually relatively simple. Chickens are bred in captivity to provide non-vegetarians with meat. But lions are bred in captivity to provide “hunters” with “sport” and “enjoyment” and “thrills” – see  the LionAid blog "Theme Parks with live ammunition" . Chickens provide eggs and are killed for protein, and have been domesticated for about 8,000 years. The world population of chickens was estimated to be 24 billion in 2003. Captive-bred lions are killed for fun by rich Europeans and Americans, and the wild population is estimated at about 20,000 on the whole African continent. Canned hunting perhaps took off not more than a dozen years ago, and is a bargain-basement option for lion trophy “hunters”.

 

Perhaps the Professor, if he thinks captive breeding of lions is no different than the breeding of chickens, could begin the first canned chicken hunting safari?

Posted by Pieter Kat at 13:34

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