Guest Editorial – Regulatory capture and the hunting fraternity by Chris Mercer, Director, Campaign Against Canned Hunting. (CACH is proud to announce that it was awarded the Gold Certificate for winner of the Best Animal Welfare Initiative by World Responsible Tourism at World Travel week in London. LINK)
The consequences of allowing wealthy foreign hunters to pervert conservation policies and move the conservation debate away from true fundamentals, will hasten the destruction of the African continent’s priceless, irreplaceable wildlife heritage. Then what?
Leaving aside the ecological devastation, the geopolitical consequences are too terrible to think about. Imagine a billion desperate starving Africans besieging Fortress Europe. The current migrant crisis would look like a tea party in comparison. And just as the current migrant crisis is an unintended consequence of failed American imperial foreign policy in the Middle East, so the coming African migrant tsunami will be partly caused by the reckless machinations of Big Hunting.
The fundamental issue is this: are wilderness and wildlife just a resource to be harvested, or are they a precious heritage which should be preserved for posterity?
Big Hunting has successfully bought, lobbied and litigated to ensure that the former is the prevailing paradigm. Hunters have successfully created a whole toxic culture – which they call conservation.
© Chris Mercer
After a career as an Advocate practising law in Zimbabwe and Botswana, Chris Mercer came back to South Africa in 1984, and decided to retire young. He farmed in the Western Transvaal for ten years, before he and Bev moved to the Kalahari to establish a wildlife rehab centre and Sanctuary. This they ran for seven years.
Now retired at Wilderness in the Cape, Chris keeps busy running the NGO which he and Bev founded, called the Campaign Against Canned Hunting (CACH), a registered non-profit and public benefit organisation. www.cannedlion.org
The couple’s work has earned them awards, both in SA and international.
CACH is unusual in that it is 100% run by volunteers. No one draws a salary, and donations are used solely for meeting necessary expenses.
He is often called upon to speak on canned hunting by the media, and when the Minister was sued by the Predator Breeders Association to get lions excluded from the TOPS regulations, he was asked by the State Attorney to file an affidavit in support of the Minister’s defence.
The couple are authors of two books, including “Kalahari Dream.” http://kalahari-dream.com/
This describes the seven years they spent rescuing and rehabbing wildlife in the Kalahari, and the problems they had with conservation authorities when doing so. This book is an expose of the weaknesses in SA conservation.
In March 2014, a Global March for Lions was held in 62 cities around the world to raise awareness of the work being done by Chris Mercer’s NGO Campaign Against Canned Hunting. The result of the Global March has raised the profile of CACH, and many volunteers have come forward to join. CACH is now represented globally, with teams in numerous countries – all working to stop cub petting, canned hunting and the lion bone trade.