Windhoek-The Namibia Professional Hunting Association (Napha) has reacted to the decision by the Professional Hunting Association of South Africa (Phasa) to, by way of amending a constitutional definition, now allow and condone, inter alia, the “hunting” of captive-bred lions.
Napha president Danene van der Westhuyzen said they cannot “sit idly and allow actions, which we firmly believe to be contrary to both our aims and objectives, as well as the internationally recognized principles of ethical hunting in Africa, to go unanswered.”
Phasa decided at their annual general meeting held on November 22 that, in future, their constitution would define the term “ethical hunting” as: “Ethical hunting shall mean all types of hunting permissible by law.” This amended definition was approved at their AGM by majority vote.
“Napha is shocked and deeply disappointed that Phasa has decided to take the low road by amending its constitution to include a bland and superficial definition of the word ‘ethical’ that now leaves the door wide open to abuse and exploitation by those who clearly have no concern for the future of hunting in Africa, or around the world,” Westhuyzen reacted.
He said it must also be unequivocally stated that this amending of the Phasa definition of the term “ethical” flies in the face of the Code of Ethical Sport Hunting Conduct for Africa, co-signed at Victoria Falls in 1997 by the late Basie Maartens, acting as president of Phasa, as well as the Operators and Professional Hunting Associations of Africa Memorandum of Understanding, also co-signed by Phasa, which clearly define what these bodies deem to be termed ethical.
Napha recognizes that the majority vote which approved this constitutional amendment was achieved by a vote of less than one third of its membership.
Napha wants to believe that the majority of hunters in South Africa do not support this change in constitution as well as condemns any form of captive-bred lion practices, and shall therefore continue to have Napha’s support in rectifying this grievous wrong.
Westhuyzen noted Napha would like to place it on record that there is a distinct and profound difference between the definitions of the concepts of “legal” and “ethical” and that, just because something might be legal (or not yet deemed to be illegal), that it is therefore ethical.
“There is no law expressly forbidding knowingly shooting a pregnant animal, or animal with dependent young but, by any definition of the word ethical, this would be condemned by any right-minded human being with even the vaguest comprehension of what ethical means. In terms of the amended definition approved by Phasa, this type of action would now be deemed by them to be ethical,” he said.
By reaching this decision, he said Phasa has decided to ignore the majority opinion of both the hunting and the non-hunting community around the world and, by so doing, has placed all the hard work undertaken by various institutions in support of sustainable hunting as a tool of conservation, in jeopardy.
He stressed the decision taken by the majority of Phasa members now leaves the door wide open in South Africa to engage in captive-bred lion shooting.
“Please note that Napha, along with the majority of African hunting associations affiliated to Ophaa (Operators and Professional Hunting Associations of Africa) as well as Apha (African Professional Hunting Association), considers this type of activity to be in direct contravention of what we consider fair chase and ethical hunting, therefore, cannot be called hunting.”
He said Napha has no choice but to condemn this short-sighted and ill-advised decision by Phasa in the strongest possible terms and has no choice but to distance itself from this reprehensible decision which has severely tarnished the reputation of the entire African hunting industry.
“We shall continue to stand firm in our beliefs and support hunting associations throughout Africa and the world who share our mission and vision, whereby ethical and fair chase hunting outweigh any short-sighted focus on financial gain,” he stated.