SA feeds China’s criminal craving for lion bones, and it may ...

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SA feeds China’s criminal craving for lion bones, and it may kill us

The consumption of the body parts of captive lions bred in this country is a serious global health risk. Here’s why

Michael Ashcroft

My new book exposing the scandal of lion farming in SA is, unavoidably, full of grim and distressing details. Behind the veneer of the respectable tourist industry, thousands of big cats are beaten, drugged, starved, shot and skinned every year for nothing more than profit.

The exploitation of these creatures from birth to death – and beyond – will appal readers. So will the lion trade’s links to international crime syndicates and the nonchalant attitude of SA’s authorities.

With about 12,000 captive-bred lions in SA at any one time, against a wild lion population of only 3,000, this problem is growing. While the world reels from the Covid-19 pandemic, however, one alarming consequence of this gruesome business arguably rises above the rest of the ghastliness. It relates to the zoonotic diseases carried by lions which also threaten humans...

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