Lions

“It all goes steadily in the same direction — we are losing the wild.” — Karl Ammann, wildlife conservationist and photographer

In May, the South African government designated 33 additional wild species, including endangered and iconic species, as farm animals. Lions, giraffes, cheetahs, white and black rhinoceros, cape buffalos and a variety of deer and other ungulates are on the list.

The amendment to the Animal Improvement Act (AIA) directing these animals to captive breeding, solely for killing, was passed through without public consultation.

Don Pinnock, in an Oct. 16 article for the Daily Maverick, writes: “There’s no international precedent for such an extraordinary ‘domestication’ of wild animals.” Of course: “It has no provision for the welfare of individual animals…. This also means that a wild animal would only be protected in terms of its value as a human resource and not for its own sake.”

Pinnock’s article continues:

“AIA permits ‘animal breeder societies’ to manipulate breeding outcomes in the way we have altered aurochs into docile cows, the grey wolf into the many breeds of dogs and produced ‘golden’ impala. Most of these breeds can no longer survive in the wild.” (Aurochs were magnificent wild animals hunted to extinction. Aurochs were not aggressive to humans.)

Although gray wolves generated all breeds of dogs — the DNR pays $2,500 for dogs killed when hunters risk them tormenting and killing our bears in wolf territory, but promotes de-listing wolves for killing. Ironic and cruel, especially considering the vital role wolves contribute in natural systems. (Systems do not function naturally when ravaged by packs of dogs, traps and violent humans.)

Why not grow the rest of wildlife confined in feedlots for slaughter? We are confining, mutilating and murdering 60% of mammals on earth as livestock, 70% of birds on earth as poultry — all grown only for the slaughterhouse. Why not the rest of life in our merciless utilitarian blood lust and control, consigning wildlife to miserable confined lives and certain deaths as young animals just like the rest of life valued as commodity? Why not finish the job on endangered species as we exit the hot planet we are destroying anyway?

The North American Wildlife Model is an agricultural model, working to produce wild animals as killing fodder. Putting the rest of endangered and wild species into confinement for killing is the logical final step of insane cruelty on the way to annihilation.

"Just over a century ago, there were more than 200,000 wild lions living in Africa. Today, there are only about 20,000; lions are extinct in 26 African countries." 

There are less than 5,500 black rhinos in the world and 20,000 white rhinos left. 

As tigers are being extinguished for Asian folk medicine and skins, the world market is turning to the last of our wildlife species for alternatives. It is fueling poaching. In 2009, 169 lion skeletons were exported from Africa, in 2011: 574, in 2013: 1094. For the export trade in bones, the final Asian product is a 100 gram cake of bone selling for $1,000 each. The skeletons leave Africa at $1,000 to $1,500 each, then are processed in Asia into 60 of these cakes for a huge profit. Sexual prowess, status symbol and false outdated myths fuel the trade. Just like macho and trophies fuel killing “recreation” in this country — still stuck in the 1850s mindset of conquering nature. Still stuck in heads on walls, selfies with corpses and obscene taxidermy mentality.

Every day, two or three tame captive-raised lions are paraded out to be shot for taxidermy and trophy for some decorative item to fill someone’s demented hollow ego — but there is never enough killing to fill that abyss.

According to wildlife photographer Karl Ammann, “What will that mean? More pressure on lions, more farmed lions, more of these captive scenarios, less wilderness — It all goes constantly in the same direction. We are losing the wild.”

At least 20 fenced killing enclosures are listed under Wisconsin hunting “preserves”:

· "Rudolf Ranch, in northern Wisconsin, fenced. Available to kill: Whitetail Deer, Elk, Sika and Piebald deer: A special treat, Bison.

Some throw out hand-raised pheasants to be shot, one by one. Hunters have killed out quail across the entire country, but they are raised in captivity in Wisconsin to be thrown out to a line of shooters as live targets.

· Hunters Point Hunt Club, Brownsville, WI: pictured, hunters lined up behind dozens of bird carcasses – one hunter alone over 20 dead birds, his thumbs up. (Shooting tame birds, another manly accomplishment.)

· Archers GOLD Big Game and Hunts, near Wisconsin Rapids: “Whether it's a meat hunt or the monster buck of your dreams”

· Wilderness Whitetails: specializes in big bucks four years and older.

· Whispering Emerald Ridge Game Preserve: pictured young men with handfuls of dead birds. A special niche: “Awesome shooting, hunting and wedding facilities”. You can get married over a dead pile of birds you killed together.

According to Karen Trendler, director of the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, “Conservation of wildlife is best done by preserving wild animals in their natural habitat. In this way, whole ecosystems and a range of other species are protected.”

It is time to care and act. Or tell your children why you did nothing while the world was killed.

Action Alert:

The Killing Games” is showing three times at the Conserve Sauk Film Festival, Saturday, Nov. 9, 2019, 2:00 - 9:00 at UW-Platteville Baraboo. Tickets are free. Film schedule: “Journey of the Whooping Crane” and “Green Fire” will also be featured.

“Most lions in South Africa aren’t born free. They are raised in captivity. Cuddled for cash. Then sold to hunters. End the great betrayal.” Sign the Born Free petition against lion farming: https://www.bornfree.org.uk/great-betrayal

Lion whisperer Kevin Richardson’s love for wildlife in sharp contrast to Wisconsin DNR killing promotions: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vERfnG_0HGk

Patricia Randolph of Portage is a longtime activist for wildlife. madravenspeak@gmail.com or www.wiwildlifeethic.org

Share your opinion on this topic by sending a letter to the editor to tctvoice@madison.com. Include your full name, hometown and phone number. Your name and town will be published. The phone number is for verification purposes only. Please keep your letter to 250 words or less.

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