Hundreds of South African lions are being slaughtered to make bogus sex potions for men in Asia. But a global public campaign can stop this cruel trade by hitting the government where it hurts — the tourism industry.
A ban on tiger bone sales has traders hunting a new prize — the majestic lions. Lions are farmed under appalling conditions for “canned hunting”, where rich tourists pay thousands to shoot them through fences. Now experts say lion bones from these killing farms are being exported to phony ‘medicine’ makers in Asia for record profits. Trade is exploding and experts fear that as prices rise, even wild lions — with only 20,000 left in Africa — will come under poaching attack.
International lobby group Avaaz has announced that is taking legal action against ACSA and Primedia after the removal of advertisements featuring Jacob Zuma’s face from the international arrivals hall at OR Tambo airport. Avaaz argues that there is a freedom-of-expression issue at stake as well as a contractual obligation to display the ads. REBECCA DAVIS investigates.
The image of President Jacob Zuma is at the centre of a freedom of expression storm again – but this time it is more than 700 000 internet activists who are offended after the Airports Company of South Africa this week buckled under pressure to remove advertising posters calling on Zuma to stop a burgeoning international trade in lion bones.
The advertising campaign – paid for by the 15 million member strong internet NGO Avaaz – focused on a poster collage of the president’s face with an image of a lion being executed.
A new ad campaign is underway in South Africa to stop the country’s lion bone trade. Lions are killed so their bones can be used to make fake aphrodisiacs and traditional medicines. The demand for the bones is growing in Asia as tigers become scarce. The campaign’s been launched by Avaaz – a group describing itself as a global web movement, whose name means “voice” in several languages.
With an increase in the trade of lion bones to Asian countries, where it is used for perceived medicinal purposes, conservationists fear that lions could be the next of South Africa’s big five that will face rampant poaching in the near future. As South Africa desperately tries to stunt the rampant poaching of rhino, which is driven by an insatiable Asian demand for the perceived healing properties of their horn, another one of our Big Five has come under the radar. Suppliers looking to profit off the Eastern medicinal industry, have closed in on the lion.
Activists and lion breeders are again at odds over “canned” hunting – legal in SA – which some argue is no more unethical than farming chickens.
Desktop activists have joined conservationists to raise awareness about the growing demand for lion bones from users of traditional Chinese medicine, but breeders have defended the right to hunt lions born in captivity.