Businessman and philanthropist Lord Ashcroft has made shocking revelations about the tourism industry in South Africa. His new book exposes a farm that's breading over 12,000 lions for trophy hunting.
Ashcroft traveled to Africa to investigate how lions are treated. He discovered trophy hunters are killing these lions even for the born trade.
He details this shocking discovery in his latest book, Unfair Game: An Exposé Of South Africa's Captive-Bred Lion Industry.
Lion Farming in South Africa
In the book, Ashcroft reveals there are over 12,000 captivity-bred lions in South Africa alone. This number is four times the population of wild lions.
The book gives an in-depth look at the lion farming industry. It also sheds light on a cruel practice known as "canned hunts."
He wrote in the excerpt published in the Daily Mail:
"It is no exaggeration to say that the abuse of lions in South Africa has become an industry."
"Thousands are bred on farms every year. They are torn away from their mothers when they are just days old, used as pawns in the tourist sector, and then either killed in a 'hunt' or simply slaughtered for their bones and other body parts, which are very valuable in Asia's so-called medicine market."
Alongside His Book, Ashcroft Also Released a Short Film.
Ashcroft explains that these captive-bred lions are poorly fed and often kept in 'small and cramped unhygienic living conditions.'
The herders also beat up the poor animals if they fail to perform for paying tourists.
The excerpt continues:
"This sinister system has sprouted up in plain sight in South Africa. [It's] inflicting misery on this noblest of beasts on an unimaginable scale."
"My research suggests it is highly likely that there are now at least 12,000 lions [in captivity] in the country… against a wild population of just 3,000."
"Yet, strikingly, just a small number of people – a few hundred – profit from this abusive set-up. Thanks to South Africa's constitution and laws, they seem able to operate as they wish."
Ashcroft also describes the lion farming industry as conscious, intentional cruelty, and sometimes carried out with or for pleasure.
Lion bones are in high demand in the Far East. Some people believe they have medicinal properties and can act as an aphrodisiac. Also, a single lion carcass is worth thousands of pounds.
Ashcroft is now vigorously campaigning for the ban of captive-bred lion farming in South Africa.
In a press release for the new book, he said:
"Lion farming shames South Africa, a country that I have loved visiting for many years."
"It's time to recognize that it is a cruel and barbaric industry that has no place in the 21st century."