South Africa wants to promote wildlife consumption

by Mar 25, 2020Bushmeat, Conservation Threats, Corona virus32 comments

South Africa is turning towards the implementation of new laws that fully allows the economic exploitation of wildlife. The intention is to market the use of all kinds of wild species, including giraffes, zebras, emu, and duikers, in order to produce cheap meat. However, the current corona virus crisis shows this can be a public health, economic and ecological disaster.

Despite the pandemic, and despite the causes of this zoonosis, South Africa is preparing to expand and intensify captive breeding of wild species and sell their meat in the food markets. This is an alarming turning point in the nation’s immense biological heritage management policies. The plan was published in the Official Gazette on 28 February in a proposal to revise the Meat Safety Act, the law that has regulated meat production since 2000. The proposal is to expand the number of non-domestic but edible species “that can be slaughtered as food for humans or for animal consumption”.

The list contains 104 species, including: zebras, red hartebeest, wildebeest, springbok, dik dik, lechwe, kudu, duiker, gemsbok, eland, impala, rhinos (black and white), hippos, giraffes, elephants and crocodiles. The proposal also points out that “this scheme includes animals that are listed as endangered species, in accordance with conservation measures, and therefore their slaughter for both human and animal consumption must be in line with the most relevant conservation indications”.

For some time, conservation and breeding have been going on the same track in South Africa.

The move by the Government, in which the Ministry of the Environment and the Ministry of Agriculture move along a concerted path dotted with legal gaps, has not surprised those in South Africa working in the conservation and in the wildlife farming industry, which supplies trophy animals to hunters and lion bones to Chinese and South East Asian buyers.

In May 2019, the previous Minister of Agriculture had passed an amendment to a 1998 law, the Animal Improvement Act (AIA), to reclassify 33 wildlife species as farm animals, including lions, cheetahs, rhinos and zebras, without public consultation.  This allow these animals to be used for breeding, slaughtering and genetic manipulation in farms scattered across the country, the notorious wildlife farms.

As a result, these wildlife farms can use artificial insemination and genetic manipulation to obtain animals with special characteristics, for example faster, larger or of a different colour. These animals are highly sought after by hunters, who seek out-of-norm trophies for their collections.

The government of South Africa has decided to turn towards a complete “wildlife economy” where wild animals are a raw material on which to plan profits. South Africa has now taken a path of use of its fauna which is transforming the country into a genetic laboratory in the name of “sustainable development”. In the midst of an increasingly serious economic crisis, while education levels in the country are also decreasing, the government turns to extraction of resources at all costs for an immediate profit.

While China, on February 24, decided to ban wildlife trade by also asking CITES for more stringent measures, South Africa seems to want to take a completely opposite path, in defiance not only of the precautionary principle, but of international concerns  Nobody knows how many of the animals on the Chinese markets came from South Africa and the country is preparing to expand a market that hides unknown oublic health dangers.

For this reason, on March 21, which is Human Rights Day in South Africa, the EMS Foundation together with about sixty other organizations and institutions will demonstrate in Cape Town to ask the Minister of the Environment Barbara Creecy to close the meat industry and to take a position against Covid-19 and against the consumption of wild meat. People will be virtually united for animal, environmental and human rights, which are strictly related.

Please find the full story here: La Stampa (in Italian)
Author: Elisabetta Corrà


  1. Andrew Gosler

    The Coronavirus pandemic is revealing the best and worst leadership in the world. This has to rate amongst the latter, up there with the USA, Brazil, Australia and North Korea!

    • Julie Edwards

      This cannot be allowed as it is our wildlife is exploited and many species are on the brink of extinction.
      As it is cattle, chickens, pigs and others are living lives in captivity and misery.
      Now they want to put animals who are born to be wild to also live in misery.
      No this cannot be allowed.

      • Brigit Knight

        I agree 100%. There is enough food for large populations by growing vegetables, rice, herbs and spices to use for a variety of meals. Wildlife MUST be kept wild!
        The eco safari is the way to go once the Coronna virus has been extinguished.
        Why is it that Kenya is doing brilliantly in conservation and not SA?

        • Mercia Smith

          As I see it, South Africa is being brainwashed into this industry(if you can call it that)- by allowing themselves to be influenced by the thinking of certain so-called humans- that shall remain nameless( am sure everyone knows who they are). Just a sign of how greedy & how cruel these sub-humans are- with no regard for conservation or for these sentient beings- not to talk of the fact , that one does not have to consume meat!!!!!!!!!!!!!! as some cultures dictate , that the only way to live, is by consuming large quantities of meat!!!!!!!!!. I for one am a vegetarian & live a healthy life- no colestrol, high blood pressure or diabetes, or weight problems- speaks for itself!- wake up South Africa & the rest of the world for that matter!If the virus that is making people “drop like flies” does not show humans the error of their ways, then there is no hope for the future generations

        • Lallie

          Absolutely disgusting

          • Dianne Macpherson

            This is just flippin crazy. Its the worse idea to ever be suggested. After this pandemic which has killed so many people and caused such economic tragedy to the world.i cannot understand why this is even been considered and that we are now fighting to stop this idiotic plan.

      • Teresa

        I support you 100 percent !!

      • Sybil Josephs

        This is outrageous! Wild life should be protected not to be used for human consumption.

    • Lisa

      Stop the world I want off

      • Joe

        Be it enacted… this will be the start of a new pandemic, zoonotic diseases galore! Horrendous! Hideous! As a qualified conservationist and wildlife inspector this goes against all conservation efforts and by no means close to best practices! Where is the IUCN and CITES in this? What loopholes are in NEMBA, NEMA? How can this be promoted… our legislation is as vague as our legislators and definitely not worth the paper it is on. Can we start a petition to oppose this? Besides the promotion to consume wildlife, there are countless wildlife captive animal welfare concerns.

    • Priscilla

      This cannot be allowed. People need to stop eating animals. The cruelty and torcher should not be allowed

    • Alida

      You cant be serious ! I would say South Africa has the very worst leaders who have looted the country dry. Not only that, the infrastructure is crumbling – there is no functioning electricity and many many other breakdowns go unrepaired. I left South Africa 34 years ago for the US, and am I glad I did.
      Hope you survive there

  2. Jessica Hausman

    This development towards wildlife, people and the health of the environment is unconscionable and so ignorant and dis-compassionate; one can barely write the words.
    It must stop now before it goes further; and the people not only of South Africa, but all around the globe must express their opinions about this incomprehensible stance that South Africa is developing vis a vis it’s stewardship with the wild animal of it’s country…..if not even more, then at least the Corona Virus has brought the sinister and deadly truth of that home.

  3. Marites Reimann

    This cannot be allow they are killing our nature.

  4. Julia Nicholson

    This is totally unacceptable. We are already dealing with Caronavirus worldwide. China is shutting down wildlife markets (hopefully permanently). Its ludicrous to think that South Africa wants to deal in wildlife now. I am totally against this proposal. Our wildlife are already under tremendous strain.

  5. South Africa

    It shortsighted decision for South African rich biodiversity.

    It will accelerate transnational environmental crimes that is devastating flora and fauna.

    Environmental NGO have to sharply opposite SA government decision.

    • G. Price

      Have we learnt nothing from Wuhan and the Corina virus? Our wildlife are to be protected, not eaten. Dont expoit the animals we are meant to protect. SA government wske up and learn…bush meat is not for human consuption. You will cause more pandemics like Covid 19 and Ebola. Protect and prmote our SA wildlife. No to hunting,selling and eating SA wildlife! Tread lightly.

  6. Katalin Opitz

    You have no right to market the use of any type of animal. Nature is not ours to exploit as we wish. No respect.

  7. Kathy Strong

    There should be a worldwide ban called for on tourism to SA. This is beyond sickening. We were lucky enough to go on several wonderful safaris fifteen years ago back when the country was thriving and well- managed, but as things are now we would never go back. It’s so tragic to do this to those beautiful animals, plus of course the very real risk of other pandemics. China and now South Africa.

  8. Jessica

    This country is a joke!! The country will be punished for Abusing and Exploiting God’s creatures and nature!!

  9. Annatjie Kruger

    We have just learn that the Corona virus was caused by selling wild animals (alive and dead) at a “wet market” and now the SA government want to promote the selling of the meat. There must be somebody giving out money and somebody receiving money under the table again.

  10. Ivan Lewin

    Disgraceful decision. Seems that money comes first. Our wildlife is our heritage. Animals also have rights. They were here before humans

  11. Raoul Schur

    This is way way way beyond STUPID!!

  12. Amanda Willemse

    So South Africa is contributing to world syndication by endorsing wild animals as a food source. Are the viruses that we are experiencing world wide not warning enough that this practice is unacceptable – let alone that all rational people disagree with this proposal. Let me think……exchange of money and hand in hand with other foreign Governments to enrich themselves – um yes. Africa and South Africa is notorious for allowing foreign countries to exploit natural resources…..never thinking further than their greedy, sweaty, money grabbing fingers. How easily they are influenced. The cruel sub-species called ‘humans’ are an absolute abomination to the longevity of this planet. The rest of the world are moving away from large meat consumption to vegetation based diets but as usual SA is behind the times, not only in their actions but in the way they think and respond. Money, money, money – the root of all evil.
    Cruelty, greed, corruption and destruction the only language our species understands until its too late……

  13. susan wilson

    typical of south africa, they already sell baby elephants to china, tearing them away from their mothers, just so china can have them, these countries make me sick.

  14. Love animals

    My question is why put SA in a lockdown and stop life as we know it and ruin the economy and lifelyhoods if we have learned nothing? Why have over 70 000 Corona Virus infections and trying to flaten the curve as Goverment calls it?? While during behind this pandemic and economic crisis caused by lockdowns and poaching, and wildlife trades, Goverment are looking to open and increase this trade? All the Covid talk, treatmens, and effort are invane and the human life renderd worthless!! SARS, HIV, Ebola and now Covid when will we learn.?These Are all Zootonic meaning came from exotic animals(wildlife) and still it costs Goverment thousands of million of ZAR for treatment of these deaseses and not even talking about human suffering or death by the millions why then allow and aprove the source of these pandemics? Why?? When there are many other safer ways to create food security this is not it……

  15. Ronél Jurgens

    No No No !!!!!!!!!!!
    I support you 100%

  16. Johan Nell

    I say no…. This is going to drive all animals to extinction…who eats Elephants and rhino’s? The Chinese… This is to make money by the corrupt Government… No… No… No…

  17. Celeste

    I seriously cannot believe this!!!what a joke of a country.

  18. Barbara Bengry

    I cannot believe the South African Government is even considering such an appalling move. These beautiful creatures are suffering from trophy hunting and many are at risk from extinction.
    Please please think again prove to the rest of the world rhat South African has a caring compassionate Government that values the wonderful diverse wildife they are bkessed with.
    Please please please think again.
    Barbara Bengry

  19. Helen HENLEY

    The South African gouverment as we know is absolutely and totally corrupt, and this barbaric persiute of killing our wild animals for human and animal consumption is corruption at its highest!!
    This gouverment should be ashamed of what they are proposing! This government has No Ethics for any kind of life.

  20. Rolfe

    The World has finaly gone Mad an we are heading for top spot


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