Hunting in South Africa

NSPCA Decries Driven Hunting In South Africa As A ‘Rich Man’s Thing,’ Not Sporting

Coming in the wake of the controversial killing of Cecil the Lion in Zimbabwe, which caused a global uproar, driven hunting in South Africa on three farms in Alldays, Limpopo, has recently been decried by the NSPCA.

The National Council of SPCA (NSPCA) says that a controversial five-day driven hunt in the Limpopo province last week was shocking and not sporting.

Basically, 13 European hunters experienced a five-day driven hunt that involved the shooting of 100 animals, mainly consisting of warthog and small antelope, although video footage of the hunt did show some giraffes.

According to Zoutnet, driven hunting in South Africa involves 83 so-called “chasers,” clad in bright clothing and walking 10 meters apart from each other, herding the animals into specially cleared areas in the bush.

Hunting in South Africa
“Chasers” preparing to drive the animals into specially cleared areas for the hunters to shoot.

The hunters themselves are positioned on purpose-built platforms, waiting to shoot the animals as they pass by. These platforms can be seen in the photo below.

Hunting in South Africa
Hunters line up on their raised platforms, waiting for the animals to be driven past them for shooting.

Wildlife advocacy groups and animal lovers alike have condemned this method of hunting in South Africa, with Ainsley Hay, unit manager of the NSPCA, saying, “This is not sporting.”

IOL quotes Paul Oxton, founder of the Wild Heart Wildlife Foundation, as saying the driven hunt is “a rich man’s thing, it is not hunting and is absolutely shocking.”

According to wildlife activists, the controversial five-day driven hunt has exposed a glaring flaw in South Africa’s legislation governing the practice. However, the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) has given driven hunting its blessing and says the hunters complied with all necessary regulations.

Animal activists placed signs at the entrance to the farms involved in the driven hunt.

Hunting in South Africa
Animal activists placed signs at the entrances to the three Alldays farms.

To be able to witness the five-day driven hunt, the NSPCA had to make a special court application. However, the media were denied access to the event.

According to Simon Matome, communications head for the Limpopo Department of Economic Development, Environment and Tourism, the media were reportedly banned from the hunt after things got tense between the farm owners, the NSPCA, and the media, leading to their exclusion.

According to Matome, this method of hunting in South Africa is legal. He says the owners of the Alldays farms have ownership of the property, along with the wild animals on their land, and that they generate income through hunting.

The communications head visited one of the Alldays farms Tuesday and spoke about the hunters.

“They were mostly from Belgium and the Netherlands and they were licensed to hunt.

“They started off on a practice range before heading out, but I didn’t see a herd of animals being slaughtered like has been reported.”

According to Matome, the dead animals were taken to the abattoir after the hunt, and the hunters then received their trophy heads and that all is in order.

“If they are saying we are doing something illegal, let’s go to court. What will we be charged with?”

He did stress that while driven hunting in South Africa was taking place on private property, there were, apparently, checks in place to ensure no laws were broken and that “no illegality had been reported, so there was no reason to act.”

According to Matome, the NSPCA and other wildlife critics of driven hunting in South Africa should put their objections to Parliament.

However, speaking for the NSPCA, Hay said driven hunting is unacceptable and unethical, whether one animal is killed or 100, and he questioned why the country was entertaining European hunters, saying that many South African hunters are against driven hunting.

“We have more than enough forms of hunting in this country – why are we entertaining the Europeans? Many SA hunters told us they don’t want driven hunting.”

Oxton compared the practice to canned hunting and reiterated the fact that many local hunters disapproved of the driven hunt. He said the manner in which the 83 chasers moved on the terrified animals, driving them towards the hunters, was not fair.

“That’s cruelty. The animals are afraid and cannot escape. It’s akin to canned hunting.”

According to Herman Meyeridricks, president of the Professional Hunters Association of SA (Phasa), they don’t have a position on driven hunting, which they say is rare in Africa.

“This practice is rare in Africa and occurs mostly in Europe. We have no knowledge of the event staged in Limpopo other than what has been reported in the media. None of our members participated.”

Speaking of the practice of driven hunting in South Africa, Zoutnet quotes one regular hunter, Frederick Eloff, as saying no hunter “worth his salt” would take part in the practice for ethical reasons.

Robert Gallon, chairman of the Alldays Farmers Association, said that despite the farmers involved in the driven hunt having farms in the Alldays area, the association distances itself from the practice.

A local TV program, Carte Blanche, ran an exposé of driven hunting in South Africa on Sunday, where they both launched several petitions against the practice and also drew local and international condemnation of driven hunting.

Carte Blanche is an investigative journalism television series that was launched in 1988 and has since earned credibility among South African television viewers with their investigations into corruption, consumer issues, and current events. The show has also received numerous awards. Video footage of the episode can be viewed here.

[Images: Screengrabs from Carte Blanche video]