Durban – Blood Lions, a new documentary film delivers a damning verdict on the rapidly growing South African industry that breeds, hunts and trades lions in captivity.
Blood Lions, a hard-hitting, locally-produced movie which premiered at the Durban International Film Festival this week, presents a comprehensive behind-the-scenes investigation sure to shock anyone concerned about wildlife conservation and animal welfare.
The film follows South African conservationist Ian Michler as he visits some of the 200-odd facilities estimated to house approximately 6 000 to 8 000 captive-bred lions throughout the country.
Most of the owners claim to be involved in conservation, research, education and tourism, but Michler reveals the true motivation behind the business: supplying lions for the lucrative hunting industry. “It’s just about the money,” he explains. “It’s about breeding wildlife as intensively as they can, as quickly as they can, to make as much money as they can!”
Blood Lions exposes a number of additional revenue streams of the captive-lion industry: a booming trade in lion bones to practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine, well-meaning volunteers who pay thousands of rands to work on lion farms but are unaware that most of the cubs they help to raise are destined for the trophy hunting market and similarly uninformed tourists who visit facilities where they can pet and walk with lions.
The South African government has actively promoted this industrialisation of lion breeding, hunting and trading through laws and regulations that elevate market mechanisms and profits to a position of prime motivators in the name of conservation.
Blood Lions is a must-see film that does a sterling job of debunking the fairy tales peddled by the captive lion lobby and makes a strong call for a ban on captive breeding and trophy hunting to stop us from straying any further down this dangerous road.
This article was distributed by the Conservation Action Trust and is used with their permission.