By REBECCA BILLS
MEMBER for La Trobe Jason Wood is hoping to table the issue of ‘canned hunting’ in parliament as soon as possible.
Canned hunting is the practice of capturing, breeding and raising animals like lions, of which only 4000 remain in the wild, for cashed-up thrillseekers to shoot and take home as trophies.
Hills resident Donalea Patman is dedicated to informing residents of the hideous industry known as canned hunting and brought it to the awareness of Mr Wood.
Mr Wood said he was sceptical of the practice when Ms Patman first told him, however was horrified when he conducted research into the issue.
“When Donalea showed me the video footage of what is happening over there I couldn’t believe what I saw – it’s very disturbing footage and I don’t recommend anyone to watch it,” he said.
“A lot of Australians, and even people we know in our electorate, are going over to South Africa to what they think are orphanage parks to basically care for these lions and cubs.
“But it’s just a front for the subsequent slaughter of the animals when they get to a mature age.”
Mr Wood said what he was trying to do was raise awareness in not only his electorate but around the country to all people travelling to South Africa in the belief they were supporting orphaned lions and tigers.
“I’ve formally written to ministers about this, however it’s a very difficult situation as it’s happening in South Africa.
“The reality is that people over there want to make a living but I will be making a speech in parliament and to foreign affairs ministers to raise awareness on the issue.
“We need to stop Australians from going over there – they pay for the privilege to care for the animals with all the right intentions but are subsequently aiding in the slaughter of them.”
Ms Patman said the industry was mainly happening in South Africa and many residents in the hills were travelling over to lion and tiger orphanages in the country to volunteer their help – unaware that these orphanages were raising wildlife for the insidious practice.
“If Australians are aware of the industry they would not go,” she said.
“That would curb the industry as these orphanages could not afford to run without volunteers.
“Lots of Australians are travelling over to South Africa thinking they are helping orphaned lions, however they are being used in the canned hunting industry.”
Ms Patman said she believed that Africa was currently under siege and if it did not receive international pressure this horror would continue.
“We are currently working with Jason Wood and he is hoping to table the issue in parliament,” she said.
“There is going to be a global rally on 15 March with more than 50 cities participating worldwide.”
Mr Wood said anyone who was travelling to South Africa thinking they were going over there to do good in these orphanages should contact World Wildlife Fund (www.wwf.org.au) to ensure there was no connection to canned hunting.
For more information about canned hunting or to get involved in the global march for lions, visit www.cannedlion.org or www.globalmarch4lions.org