In September of 2019, Born Free released this short film, “The Bitter Bond” to show the cruel reality of the canned hunting industry. They released it with a petition that called for an end to canned hunting in South Africa, which garnered almost a quarter of a million signatures. This September, they submitted it to South African government officials.

Canned hunting is one of the cruelest, most despicable forms of hunting. The lions involved are introduced to humans while they are very young to keep them from developing a fear of them. Then, when they grow older, hunters can pay exorbitant amounts of money to kill these lions for “fun.”  Because the hunts take place in an enclosed space and the lions don’t fear humans, they have no chance of survival.

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There are around 250 breeding facilities and upwards of 8,000 captive-bred lions in South Africa that are exploited by the canned hunting industry. Sadly, many of the volunteers that help acclimate the lion cubs to people believe that the lions are part of a conservation initiative. Most don’t know that the lions that they helped raise will eventually be killed for “entertainment.”

After these lions are hunted, their parts are sold in the international lion bone trade, which fuels poaching of wild lions and the illegal trade of lion parts. Born Free’s Head of Policy, veterinarian Dr. Mark Jones, has states that “urgent action needs to be taken to bring an end, in an intelligent and humane way, to the commercial captive breeding and canned hunting of lions and other predators, and, importantly, the sale of their bones and skeletons into international markets.”

South Africa must put an end to the cruel canned hunting industry. These lions need protection and real conservation efforts. To help Born Free in their efforts to end animal cruelty, including that of the canned hunting industry, you can donate to them here. You can also take the Claws Out Pledge to never partake in lion cub interaction experiences.

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