MINISTER GREG HUNT
Australia’s Environment Minister, Liberal Party
Minister Hunt delivered the following speech in Parliament on 8 September 2015 prior to the screening of Blood Lions. In front of invited guests, members of parliament, staff and colleagues both Donalea Patman and Ian Michler were touched my the Minister’s heartfelt words. Those attending included Senator Lee Rhiannon, Roderick Campbell (author Ecolarge), Matthew Collis (IFAW), Heather Neil (CEO RSPCA Australia) amongst many others.
Author, Mystic, Teacher, Founder of Sacred Activism
As everyone now knows the wildlife of our beautiful earth is now tragically endangered and hundreds of species are vanishing every month in the orgy of greed and destruction that our civilisation is seemingly addicted to. This is a tragedy of immense proportion which every decent person and everyone that has ever responded to the beauty of an animal or the love of a pet must feel as a permanent ache in their heart.
This would be awful enough to warrant massive action on a massive scale, however, the great sages of humanity and the shamans of all indigenous traditions have also warned us that by endangering the wildlife of creation, we also endanger the wild life inside ourselves, that natural, instinctual, unfettered passion for life and energy of survival and celebration that are amongst our most precious gifts.
This foundation For the love of Wildlife, started by Donalea Patman, is one I support with the whole force of the global movement of sacred activism behind it. For I know that it is from the divine animal side of us that we find the passion to stand up for compassion and justice and I know too that if we continue to savagely disrespect and ravage creation and its creatures we will unleash unstoppable forces both inside and outside us that will ensure our destruction. I pray that all people of goodwill, power and wealth will support the humble and heroic work of this foundation and so help humanity come into this unity with its inner and outer world.
Institute of Sacred Activism
Author – The Hope, Radical Passion
Internationally Respected Conservationist, Investigative Journalist, Safari Guide
I have got to know and work with Donalea Patman from For the Love of Wildlife (FLOW) over the last 18 months through a mutual friend and colleague. This came about after Donalea viewed a short fundraising promotional clip for an upcoming documentary on predator breeding and canned hunting in South Africa. Shocked and outraged, she contacted Jason Wood, her local Member of Parliament to view the footage. Since that day, she and Jason have become an integral part of the campaign to have these horrific practices closed down. And history now shows the fruits of their passionate and dedicated involvement; on the 13th March, the Australian government became the first country to take a stand by banning the import of all lion body parts into Australia. For this we need to thank Minister Greg Hunt, Jason Wood MP, Stephan Hartley and Donalea as well as the Australian people who supported them in their endeavours.
To get a full picture of how important this move has been, I need to give some background.
Over the last 25 years, my work across 20 African countries has seen me become immersed in the ecotourism, conservation and wildlife challenges the continent faces. This work has ranged from managing numerous different safari camps and community concessions to owning my own as well as acting as a professional safari guide on untold trips to every destination imaginable, and to my more recent exploits as an environmental photo-journalist and ecotourism consultant.
During this period, the land-use options we use to manage Africa’s protected areas have been one of the core issues to stay with me. In short, this involves the role of trophy hunting: does the killing of large numbers of wild animals have a role to play as a conservation or management tool protecting biodiversity, or as some would have it, the far simpler question; in this day and age, is trophy hunting appropriate behaviour. These questions take on greater relevance with the knowledge that photographic ecotourism plays a far more significant and sustainable role across the continent.
This debate will become more intense in the coming years, especially as science increasingly exposes our close relationship with all other species and the impacts we are having on the planet. However, there is one component to the trophy hunting debate that demands immediate attention and action; the intensive breeding of wild animals under agricultural conditions to be killed in confined areas by trophy hunters.
These practices are particularly prevalent in South Africa where today about 200 facilities are holding anywhere between 6 000 and 8 000 predators, mostly lions in cages or enclosed areas. And these animals will be used for a variety of revenue streams ranging from cub petting and walking with lions to canned hunting, the lion bone trade or traded out to other breeders and collectors.
I have been an outspoken critic of these practices for 15 years and have done this work by writing extensively on the practices, going undercover to get footage, doing untold public presentations and compiling reports for international NGO’s. And it’s all been done with the aim of bringing greater awareness to the general public, the wider conservation community and the government in South Africa with the hope of engineering change.
I must also point out that there have been numerous other individuals and organisations that have been working tirelessly with the same objectives in mind, and I have collaborated with many of them. But the harsh reality is that, barring a short period in 2005/6 when the then Sth African Minister of Environment gave a glimmer of hope that government was willing to try and shut the operations down, we have failed. The numbers tell this story: when I started my investigations in 1999, there was approximately 1 000 predators; by the time I did a comprehensive report in 2005, the numbers had increased to between 3 000 and 3 500 and now we have as many as 8 000 predators in captivity.
The first and only breakthrough we have had in trying to have these practices shutdown has come from the Australian government. And as mentioned, Donalea and FLOW have been instrumental in this momentous step. From the outset, she completely understood the arguments, their context and how important it was to fight this battle in a way that would influence decision-makers.
Her tireless and incisive approach has been a large factor in carrying this issue all the way to the Minister’s desk. On behalf of all of us who have been fighting these practices, not to mention the lions and other predators as well as untold other wild species being bred for the bullet, we owe Donalea a massive thank you.
Invent Africa Safaris