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Proposed a ban on "canned hunting" and industry gu

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Proposed a ban on "canned hunting" and industry gu


South Africa on Tuesday proposed a ban on "canned hunting", in which captive animals are killed, as well as hunting with bows, traps and dogs, in an effort to clean up the lucrative business.

Environmental Affairs Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk unveiled a set of guidelines for the hunting industry, which generates some R25-billion a year in South Africa, drawing game hunters from Europe and the United States.

"The most important thing that we are doing today is that we are making sure that the hunting industry is based on integrity and best practices that we can defend," Van Schalkwyk said, speaking at the De Wildt Cheetah and Wildlife Centre west of Pretoria.

"There are a few bad apples in the industry, and practices such as canned hunting, especially of lions, that have done South Africa a lot of damage in the past," the minister told AFP.

Recent years have seen an international outcry over canned hunting, in which hand-reared animals, mostly lions, are tied to a pole or lured to a food source and then shot as a trophy.

"We have also heard of examples where rhinos have been killed with crossbows or bows and arrows, which is totally inhumane," said Van Schalkwyk, adding that hunting should be conducted along "fair chase" principles pitting the hunter's wits against those of the animal.

Van Schalkwyk said methods like canned hunting should be abhorred.

"There is nothing romantic or sporting in what amounts to the barbarous slaughter of an animal," he said.

Breeders of animals for hunting purposes will also be given two years to rehabilitate these animals back into the wild before allowing them to be hunted.

The proposals are to be submitted for public discussion over the next six weeks and could be approved by the end of the year, Van Schalkwyk said.

Also released on Tuesday were proposed regulations establishing a permit system for threatened and protected species, restricting breeding, hunting, trade and transport of these animals, such as the loggerhead turtle and the stag beetle.

"In effect, the days of captive breeding of listed species for any other purposes except science and conservation are over," Van Schalkwyk said.

"Any person who contravenes these regulations... will be liable for a fine and imprisonment for up to five years," the minister said.

The new proposals, which were drawn up with the help of a panel of experts including hunters, were being welcomed, said De Wildt's deputy director Vanessa Bouwer.

"We are so excited about this proposal because we know it's the beginning of the end for those kind of unscrupulous people out there," she told AFP.

South Africa has become one of the hunting world's greatest draws, attracting some 9 500 foreign hunters every year, the Professional Hunters' Association of South Africa estimated last year.

Some 9 000 privately owned ranches employ about 70 000 people to cater to foreign hunters who come to hunt animals including Africa's "Big Five" — lions, leopards, buffalo, elephant and rhino.