South Africa wants to promote wildlife consumption

by Mar 25, 2020Bushmeat, Conservation Threats, Corona virus7 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

  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.


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