Screening of Ian Michler’s documentary Blood Lions

On 20/11/2015, in All posts, by Animal Welfare Intergroup

blood lions invitationOn Tuesday 17th November  Intergroup Members Sirpa Pietikainen (EPP, FI), Stefan Eck (GUE/NGL, DE) and Pavel Poc (S&D, CZ) have hosted the screening of Ian Michler’s documentary blood lions which is a compelling call for action against canned hunting.

This kind of hunting is mainly carried out in South Africa, where 99% of the lions that are trophy hunted are raised in captivity and then released into fenced areas of various dimensions to be shot. Presently, 6000 to 8000 lions are being bred in captivity in South Africa to meet the demand of canned lion hunters.

Canned hunting is deplorable under all points of view:

Ethical: the hunted animals are domesticated lions who have absolutely no chance of escape from the hunter. Even many of the international hunting associations recognize that shooting captive raised lions is not ethical.

Conservation: the claim that killing captive raised lions takes the “pressure” off wild populations has been shown to be nonsense – very few of those hunters who shoot captive bred lions could afford a wild lion hunt, especially when not guaranteed a trophy.

Trade of bones: the captive lion breeders are moving into selling lion bones for the Chinese traditional medicine market, which has already emptied the forests of Asia of their tiger populations.

It could therefore be concluded that preventing imports into the EU of trophies from canned lions is the only mean to contribute to the end of this cruel activity.


 It is often stated that in areas of Africa where photographic tourism is not viable, safari hunting could potentially be a sustainable alternative that benefits local communities and gives them incentives to retain wildlife on their lands. However, we believe that the following considerations have to be made:

  • for trophy hunting to be a valid conservation tool, effective anti-poaching efforts must be undertaken in hunting areas to reduce illegal offtake. Presently, this is not the case in most of the African hunting areas.
  •  rural communities are not the primary beneficiaries of income from hunting.
  • in many African countries, current lion hunting practices are not sustainable, since they are not based on scientifically assessed quota.
  • besides, is the killing of a threatened wild animal for fun acceptable?

For all these reasons, the Animal Welfare Intergroup welcomes the recent EC ban to import lion hunting trophies into the EU from Burkina Faso, Benin and Cameroon, where lions are on the brink of extinction. We strongly believe that no form of lion trophy hunting should be allowed and the EU should play a leading role in contributing to reach this goal.



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