South African Government Plans to Make It Legal to Use Endangered Species For Human Meat

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In a devastating blow to its wildlife, South Africa plans to declare its wild animals as meat for human consumption and to allow unrestricted farming of everything from lions, giraffes and rhinoceros to tiny antelopes. 

Under the proposal, no animal is taboo. The proposal specifically lists 104 wild animals that can be farmed, but stresses that the law will apply to all other species of animals including birds, fish and reptiles. Their genetic material, embryos and body parts can be harvested and traded. Even worse, amendment specifically includes “animals that may be listed as threatened species.” 

The regulations are to be changed so that any wild animal can be exported, smoothing the way for exporting dead lions and their bones.

If this isn’t Machiavellian enough, the government has put a ridiculous time limit on when submissions can be made – April 30. But, because of the corona crisis, South Africa remains in strict lockdown with no end in sight, making meaningful comment very difficult.

The Animal Survival International (formerly Political Animal Lobby)’s Nicolette Peters points out that the government seems to be following China’s laws on wildlife, where until recently commercial farming of wild species has been commonplace. “Well, we know how that turned out,” she said. “The corona crisis is killing hundreds of thousands of people as a direct result of Chinese wet markets.”

- “China’s ‘wet markets’, where wild and domestic animals are held in close proximity to humans in unhygienic conditions.” The outbreak of the COVID-19 coronavirus is believed to have originated in a wet market, from a wild animal – potentially a pangolin.

Peters says that ASI is shocked that, in the midst of a global pandemic that is believed to have originated from contact between humans and wild animals, the South African government is proposing to allow unfettered consumption of any animals whatsoever, wild or tame. It is well-established that lion bones can carry diseases and toxic sedative residues that can be harmful to human health. Even more commonly-eaten game meats are increasingly prone to disease, and the need for antibiotics to treat them.

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“Opening up the entire South African biota to global consumption is blatantly irresponsible and retrogressive when it is well-established that 70% of new infectious diseases originate from human contact with animals,” said Peters.  “Epidemiologists and climate change experts warn more pandemics are coming as humans disrupt the last remaining wild habitats and come into closer contact with wild animals. What the South African government is about to do, places its entire human population at greater risk, along with tourists who visit the country.

“Not only does the South African government propose to put the entire globe at risk of future pandemics, but also the survival of already endangered wild species. Making the parts of endangered animals available for medicine, fetishes or meat increases demand for animals caught in the wild.”

Reclassifying wild animals as livestock and legalizing the slaughter and consumption of all species without any off limits is, as far as ASI can make out, an unprecedented law.

“The South African government’s proposals are disgraceful and we urge people to speak out strongly against it,” said Peters.

The deadline is April 30 to oppose these inhumane and extremely disturbing law changes. ASI urges our supporters and all people concerned about biodiversity and animal welfare to make their voices heard before it is too late.

Comments can be sent to:

Dr M. Molefe

Director: Veterinary Public Health
Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development

Email: VPH@daff.gov.za

Tel: +27 12 319 7699

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Some of the animals allowed to be killed include:

  • African Buffalo
  • Bushpig
  • Cape Grysbok
  • Crocodile
  • Donkey
  • Duiker
  • Dwarf Antelope
  • Elephant
  • Gemsbuck
  • Giraffe
  • Grey Rhebuck
  • Hippopotamus
  • Horse
  • ImASIa
  • Klipspringer
  • Lechwe
  • Mule
  • Oribi
  • Porcupine
  • Rhinoceros
  • Roan Antelope
  • Royal Antelope
  • Sable Antelope
  • Scimitar Oryx
  • Sharpe’s Grysbok
  • Steenbuck
  • Suni
  • Warthog
  • White Antelope
  • Zebra

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South Africa is about to put every wild animal in the country at risk by introducing Chinese-style laws to allow wildlife to be marketed alongside domestic animals - the very thing that caused corona. These proposals are an impending catastrophe for animals and humans. We can only fight this terrible proposal with your support. Please donate today.

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