Reply To PHASA by Custodians Of Professional Hunting & Conservation South Africa

Discussion in 'Articles' started by BRICKBURN, Dec 19, 2017.



    Aug 5, 2010
    Likes Received:
    Namibia, South Africa, Botswana, Mozambique, Canada, USA, Mexico, England

    The Professional Hunters Association of South Africa (PHASA) issued a number of newsletters
    since its 2017 AGM in an attempt to explain its adoption of a new resolution in respect of captive
    bred lion (CBL) hunting and also its 2017 constitutional changes. Most notably all references to
    “ethical” were removed from the constitution and substituted with “legal/lawful”; also, the
    constitutional provision that a member can, through his conduct, bring the association into
    disrepute was removed too.

    (It must be said at the outset that the terms “hunting”, “hunt” and/or similar words are used in
    this piece purely for the sake of convenience. The breeding of an animal in complete captivity
    purely for the purpose of shooting it in a put and take situation is not hunting.)

    These newsletters unfortunately contain inaccuracies.

    Newsletter 45 says the following:
    “Under the previous PHASA constitution the 2015 Resolution was fatally flawed, it could
    not be enforced and was inconsequential.”


    “The riders that were added as after fact to the 2015 AGM in an effort to give
    consequential action to the 2015 resolution were rejected by the High Court in the action
    of 2016 as being incorrect, misleading and wrong. They formed no part of the 2015
    Resolution.” (sic).




    (In terms of the 2015 resolution PHASA distanced itself from CBL hunting. The so-called “riders”
    refer to documents published by PHASA after the 2015 AGM to the effect that members who
    were involved in CBL hunting may be subjected to disciplinary action.)

    These statements in newsletter 45 are extraordinary. They put forward a version of what
    transpired during the court case that is neither accurate, nor supported by the judgment at all
    and they grossly misrepresent what the Court in fact said.

    Nowhere in the judgment did the Court state or find that the 2015 resolution was fatally flawed,
    unenforceable or inconsequential. In fact, the validity of the resolution was not even in dispute.

    It was also never in dispute that the so-called riders were not part of the resolution. The court
    merely found that the inclusion of the riders, in the affidavit that members were requested to
    sign, was incorrect and furthermore that the matter was urgent. The final judgment, i.e. to
    reinstate the membership of those involved, was agreed to between the members involved and
    PHASA. The Court went further in its order by leaving the door open for PHASA to bring
    disciplinary proceedings against the members involved.

    This PHASA newsletter goes on to state that:

    “PHASA is now in a far SUPERIOR position to apply stricter hunting regulations on
    ranched lions and can now legally implement disciplinary action against members who
    contravene the new 2017 Resolution.”

    The resolution reads as follows: “PHASA accepts the responsible hunting of ranched lions on
    SAPA accredited hunting ranches within the relevant legal framework and/or according to
    recommendations of the applicable hunting association, such as SCI’s fair chase standards.”(sic)

    The resolution includes some definitions and furthermore, purportedly, provides for so-called
    consequential action: “Any member who contravenes this resolution may face disciplinary
    procedures according to the PHASA constitution.” It is noteworthy that the resolution defines a
    “responsible” hunt as one that is legal and that promotes the sustainable utilisation of wildlife.

    This statement and the situation that PHASA now finds itself in is somewhat ironic, to say the
    least. During the debate at the AGM on the constitutional changes it was mentioned, time after
    time, that PHASA wishes to implement “the lowest possible standard” for acceptable hunting
    practices, i.e. hunting must simply be “legal/lawful” for it to be acceptable. It was furthermore
    stated, repeatedly, that the PHASA constitution supersedes all else when it comes to considering
    the actions of its members.

    If that is the case, then there is really only one question that PHASA needs to answer and that is:

    What will happen to a PHASA member who hunts a CBL in accordance with all
    minimum legal requirements in say the North-West province (whose laws stipulate
    amongst other things a shorter release period than the period required by SAPA) on a
    farm that is not SAPA accredited?

    This question is important because such a hunt will, seemingly, fly in the face of the 2017

    The simple answer is that nothing will happen to that member, the reason being that the hunt
    was legal/lawful and therefore not against the PHASA constitution.

    The irony is compounded further if one considers the 2017 resolution in the context of the
    arguments put forward by those members who criticised the 2015 resolution, some of whom
    took PHASA to court and some of whom are now senior PHASA Exco members. They, and by
    extension now the PHASA Exco, continue to use these arguments to attack the now defunct 2015
    resolution and to validate the 2017 resolution. Let us consider these arguments.

    It is firstly said that the 2015 resolution was meaningless and unenforceable because it merely
    distanced PHASA from CBL hunting. It was never resolved, so the argument goes, that members
    who hunt CBL will be subjected to disciplinary action. Ironically, the 2017 resolution is no
    different. It merely states that PHASA accepts the hunting of CBL under certain circumstances
    and, possibly, that members who contravene the resolution may be subjected to disciplinary
    processes. Nowhere does this resolution say that members may not partake in hunts that are
    legal in all respects (and therefore constitutional) but, not in compliance with the SAPA
    standards/not taking place on SAPA accredited farms. Nowhere does the resolution say what

    will be viewed as being in contravention of it. And the saga of the riders continues. Newsletter 45 goes on to state that “PHASA members may only hunt ranched lions on these few ranches.”
    (with reference to the SAPA accredited ranches). This stipulation is nowhere to be found in the
    resolution itself and would seem to be the new rider.

    It is secondly argued that the 2015 resolution did not change the constitution, that the
    constitution supersedes all else and that the resolution is therefore meaningless. Again, the 2017
    resolution is no different. It does not change the PHASA constitution to say that CBL may only
    be hunted i.t.o. the SAPA rules and on SAPA accredited ranches. Despite the resolution, the
    PHASA constitution remains silent on CBL hunting and still only requires a hunt to be

    The old constitutional stipulation that members could, through their actions, bring the
    association into disrepute was removed from the constitution in 2017. This new void in the
    constitution makes the 2017 resolution even more meaningless. Non-compliance with the 2017
    resolution can, as long as the hunt is legal/lawful, no longer bring the association into disrepute.

    Furthermore, the wording of the resolution, and therefore its exact meaning, is confusing. It
    stipulates that hunting must take place on SAPA accredited ranches but, no mention is made of
    it happening in terms of the SAPA standards. It simply refers to the “relevant legal framework”
    and then there is a vague reference to “recommendations of the applicable hunting association,
    such as SCI’s fair chase standards.” SAPA is by definition excluded from being such an
    “applicable hunting association”. The reason for the inclusion of the SCI standard is unclear.

    Perhaps PHASA should attempt to clarify the resolution without adding any riders to it.

    As a side note, in the same newsletter PHASA also states the following: “Issues that are subjective
    or morally selective such as ethics, are not clearly defined and can’t supersede the legal
    parameters of the South African Constitution.” It is unclear on what legal basis this statement is
    made. The Court, in the mentioned case, certainly did not say anything that resembles this
    statement. There is also not a general legal rule in our law that says that voluntary associations
    may not make their own rules that are stricter than the laws of the land.

    In Newsletter 46 PHASA says that it is ”embracing its responsibility … in the Biodiversity
    Management Plan (BMP) for the Lion … (in) That PHASA must “Assess the management of the
    captive lion population.”

    To use this “responsibility” as a justification for the 2017 resolution and constitutional changes
    is somewhat desperate. Assessing the management of something does not mean that one must
    embrace it as an acceptable practice.

    This newsletter also states that “South Africa’s National legal requirement for the hunting of
    predators is of a higher standard than the ethics of most other African or International Hunting
    Associations.” This statement will undoubtedly be viewed with some interest by other

    In newsletter 47 PHASA says that it “has in no means changed its ETHICAL HUNTING
    STANDARD and the claim that PHASA has turned its back on “Ethical” practices such as fair
    chase to adopt lower “Legal” standards are unfounded. “Fair Chase” & “Ethical Conduct” are
    legal requirements for all hunting organisations in South Africa under the National Environmental
    Management Act”.

    The first and obvious problem with this statement is that PHASA removed all references to ethical
    from its constitution. The second is that during the deliberations on the constitutional changes
    it was said, on more than one occasion, that PHASA wishes to implement “the lowest possible
    standard” for acceptable hunting practices.

    After adoption of the CBL resolution at the 2017 AGM the question was asked from the floor,
    twice, whether PHASA now condones the hunting of CBL. It was answered in the affirmative.

    In all the newsletters PHASA states that it “vehemently rejects any and all forms of canned or
    illegal hunting”. It then relies on certain hunting methods prohibited in terms of our TOPS
    legislation in an attempt to define “canned”. These prohibited methods have little, if any, bearing
    on whether the hunt is “canned” or not and nor is there an actual definition in SA law for “canned
    hunting”. The rejection of canned hunting but the acceptance of CBL hunting is, simply put,
    artificial. In both cases the following happens: lions are bred in captivity, a specific lion is
    selected, prior to the hunt and based on the requirements of the hunting client, for release from
    its enclosure onto a farm (SAPA requires a minimum of 1,000ha and the smallest accredited farm
    is 1,100ha and only one of the 8 accredited farms exceeds 10,000ha). Hunting may then legally
    commence within 96 hours of release and the lion is shot usually within a day or two of the hunt

    Newsletter 46 goes on to state that “it is regrettable that 5% of PHASA members resigned as a
    result of inter alia disingenuous media statements by individuals and certain Hunting

    This statement seems to suggest that those opposed to PHASA’s new position are a small,
    uninformed minority. PHASA’s new position was however emphatically rejected by the
    following in the hunting community: all the African professional hunting associations – OPHAA,
    NAPHA, SOAZ, ZPGHA, PHAZ, TPHA and APHA; by SAHGCA, the largest hunting association
    in South Africa; by WSF and Boone & Crocket in the USA and by the IPHA. During the 2015
    AGM PHASA was presented with correspondence signed by 17 USA based hunting associations
    wherein the practice of CBL hunting is rejected. During the 2017 AGM representatives from CIC
    and Conservation Force spoke against this practice. The marketing of CBL hunting is no longer
    accepted on the floors of the major European hunting trade shows, including Dortmund. PHASA
    sponsors and Rip Cord reject CBL hunting and withdrew their support of
    PHASA, as did the Hunting Report. At least three major awards were withdrawn from PHASA.
    Global and local conservation bodies, most of whom view legal and ethical hunting as an
    important conservation tool, reject this practice. These include the IUCN, of whom DSC is a
    member, and the world’s leading lion conservation and research organisations, among them the
    African Lion Working Group and EWT. It is their view that CBL hunting simply has no
    conservation benefits. The USFW is of the same view and refuses the importation of CBL trophies
    into the US. Australia stopped the importation of all lion trophies purely because of CBL hunting.
    In South Africa, the Southern African Wildlife College terminated its relationship with PHASA
    because of CBL hunting.

    It would seem that the 5% of members who resigned may well, in the world of hunting, not be
    in the minority after all.

    Finally, the 2017 resolution and constitutional changes were aimed at bringing SAPA and CBL
    hunting into the PHASA fold. If SAPA was so convinced of the broad acceptability of and
    recognition for CBL hunting, why did it not go it alone? Why did it need PHASA? During
    presentations at the AGM, SAPA mentioned that the release period should in their view be as
    short as possible in order to minimise stress on the lion that is released and shot. How does one
    even begin to promote or defend an activity where something like this is a consideration? SAPA
    also declared that it is their hope to ultimately stop the hunting of all wild lions. SAPA, in an
    attempt to convince US authorities of the alleged conservation value of CBL, wrote a letter to US


    Interior Secretary Zinke. The world’s leading lion conservation and research organisations,
    among them the African Lion Working Group and EWT, had this to say about the arguments put
    forward by SAPA:

    “The points (raised by SAPA) are presented repeatedly, with little or no evidence to
    support them”


    “SAPA does not currently represent any lion biologists, researchers or conservationists in
    their membership or their board, and as such, we do not believe that the association is
    equipped, or qualified, to make statements or recommendations on the conservation of
    the species…”


    “We wish to express that SAPA’s letter is fraught with inaccuracies, false statements, and
    a flawed viewpoint that is shaped for the economic benefit of captive lion breeders. We
    recommend that USFWS maintains their current position which is to ban the importation
    of captive - origin lion trophies. Nothing has changed in the South African context since
    the previous US FWS finding that can justify a change of position.”


    “The hunting of captive - bred lions neither benefits biodiversity conservation, nor the
    conservation of wild and free - ranging lions.”

    Sadly, SAPA, an association with no recognized lion conservation credentials or track record,
    is now firmly entrenched in PHASA.

    Hunting is under threat. Now, more than ever, do we need the support of the undecided middle
    ground – that majority of the population that is neither for nor against hunting. It is that segment
    of the population that will ultimately influence our future one way or another. One can only
    successfully engage with the non-hunting public and mainstream media, proudly and openly, if
    one does not partake in practices that are clearly and blatantly abhorrent and unacceptable. For
    the sake of our own values as hunters and for the long-term future of hunting we must hunt within
    the boundaries of a hunting ethos – ethically and responsibly. To breed wild animals in a cage
    purely to be released and shot for financial gain does not fall within those boundaries, especially
    when there is no demonstrable conservation value.

    We trust that this separates fact from fiction.


    16 December 2017

    Further reading: Statements by WSF, OPHAA, NAPHA, SOAZ, ZPHGA, PHAZ, TPHA, APHA,
    IPHA; Letter from SAPA to Interior Secretary Zinke and the response by ALWG and others
    thereto; IUCN motion adopted at the IUCN World Conservation Congress in September 2016 -
    Terminating the hunting of captive-bred lions and other predators and captive breeding for
    commercial, non-conservation purposes.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 19, 2017
    siml and IvW like this.

  2. CAustin


    May 7, 2013
    Likes Received:
    Member of:
    Courtney Hunting Club, NRA Life Member, SCI Kansas City Chapter
    South Africa, KwaZulu Natal, Kalahari, Northwest, Limpopo, Gauteng, APNR Kruger Area. USA Georgia, South Carolina, Arkansas, New Mexico, North Carolina and Texas
    Thanks for sharing Wayne!

  3. SafariA

    SafariA AH Veteran

    May 26, 2017
    Likes Received:
    This piece was drawn up by the same person/s that pushed to get 13 members expelled in 2016 who refused to sign an illegal affidavid containing the rider referred to in the documents . Interesting that some people have a mission to fight each our own instead of the common enemy being the ARA 's .

    This is a very sad day in our huntings history .......

    I am reposting Ron Thompsons piece as I see it disappeared on this thread .... not sure why ...
    Hank2211 likes this.

  4. SafariA

    SafariA AH Veteran

    May 26, 2017
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  5. Shootist43


    Apr 25, 2015
    Likes Received:
    Grosse Ile, Michigan
    Member of:
    Michigan, Texas, Missouri, Limpopo Province South Africa
    A question for those AH members contemplating a future lion hunt. Which group of African Professional Hunters are you going to book with?



    Aug 5, 2010
    Likes Received:
    Namibia, South Africa, Botswana, Mozambique, Canada, USA, Mexico, England
    How are your comments fundamentally different than those being proffered by the above noted authors?
    :A Me You:
    "They ruin hunting". It's appears to be the message from both sides.

    Ron's pieces are in their own thread. As noted

    Please reply to the content directly. If Ron's or anyone else's commentary supports your views please quote them in your own reply to the content of the Original post.

    I'm interested in reading the discussion.

  7. SafariA

    SafariA AH Veteran

    May 26, 2017
    Likes Received:
    Thanks just seen it. I am not giving a personal opinion. I am just stating the facts. I for one was not part of any class action last year. I did also refuse to sign an illegal affidavid as confirmed by the court case.

    I have never hunted any of these lions and have no dog in this fight besides the fact that we are being portrayed as corrupt by some of our previous members. This happened in African Outfitter magazine in Aug/Sep on 2017.

    The article was written under the banner of SAMPEO of which 4 of them now serve on the EXCO of the new found Org. CPHC-SA.

    I try and put the detail out so all readers can make up thier own minds ......

  8. SafariA

    SafariA AH Veteran

    May 26, 2017
    Likes Received:
    I am not attacking their stance . Just do not agree with their methods discrediting fellow hunters .... all go about ethics ...... pls define ethics where all would agree on definition. ?

    Is it ethical to hunt with hounds ? Over bait ? Driven Hunts ? Night Hunting ? From Aircraft ?

    We all have different opinions .. my opinion is to give each hunter the space to operate in whatever he is comfortable with and that is within the law of that country or Province.

    The ARA s are against all forms of hunting and we are playing right into their hands attacking each other . They sit with their hands folded. We press the self destruct button daily attacking each other ..... all about ethics that is not definable or enforceable by law ...... hope this makes sense .
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 20, 2017

  9. Royal27

    Royal27 AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

    May 27, 2012
    Likes Received:
    Member of:
    USA - TX, CO, GA, ID. Africa - Zimbabwe and South Africa (Limpopo and EC)
    Great question...

    If I am reading everything right though, and I'm not positive that I am, then the CUSTODIANS group doesn't support CBL at all, and therefore at least in theory a member wouldn't offer a hunt, although they still could as it is legal, albeit they might get booted from their organization.

    That would leave the choice to hunt with a PHASA member who would need to hunt on a SAPA accredited farm, unless they chose to break PHASA rules and provide the client with a legal, although not sanctioned by PHASASAPA, hunt. For which, said member could be kicked out of PHASASAPA, but not much else.


    A client could choose to book with an Outfitter that is a member of neither organization and have the same lion hunt, that might occur with a member of PHASASAPA, or a hunt that is legal but not sanctioned. That is of course unless PHASASAPA won't sell hunts on the eight PHASASAPA accredited farms to non-member Outfitters in an effort to corner the market for those hunts and to keep control and gain more profit.

    Lots of moving parts and yet to be answered questions. As an example, I'd still like to know what a sustainable ranch lion is under PHASASAPA rules.. :)



    Aug 5, 2010
    Likes Received:
    Namibia, South Africa, Botswana, Mozambique, Canada, USA, Mexico, England
    Just an observation: Whom is really providing fodder for the ARA's?

    Quite frankly I was shocked with the ignorance/naivety of one of the "farmers" in the Blood Lions video (I think that was the video) allowing the "process" to be videotaped without concern for "perception".
    Whether it is historical footage or not, It plays over and over and over!

    There is a huge cultural disconnect that is being ignored in the PR campaign.

    ARA's and Hunters are both in a minority and must sway the majority or at least facilitate ambivalence/neutrality.

    Intransigence in the face of criticism from any quarter will not help "hunting".
    siml likes this.

  11. edward

    edward GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

    Feb 8, 2012
    Likes Received:
    Member of:
    safari club,nra,d.s.c.
    south africa and zimbabwe.alaska and several lower 48 states.
    i believe ron thompson tells it like it is,he has my support,ive joined his group.
    SafariA likes this.

  12. SafariA

    SafariA AH Veteran

    May 26, 2017
    Likes Received:
    Great ! He does incredible work !

  13. SafariA

    SafariA AH Veteran

    May 26, 2017
    Likes Received:
    Another short piece on TGA to read .

    Captive Breeding of Lions

    Here is a comment by John Rance (TGA Director) on the TGA’s positional statement on the canned lion issues under debate.

    Hi Ron,

    After all the words written on this subject, I still think there’s something missing, maybe because the discourse is focussed on the CBL issue and not on the broader topic. You’re the first person I know about who verbalized the Animal Rightist threat correctly and alerted society to it. Until you did that, hunters were focussed on making hunting kinder or more acceptable to society. In doing so, they’ve attempted to appease the AR’s in the hope that the problem will go away.


    In this regard, I’m reminded of Chamberlain, prime minister of Great Britain, where he thought by sacrificing democracies in Europe he could appease Hitler and latterly, John Vorster who was led to believe by Kaunda that by sacrificing Rhodesia he could save apartheid in South Africa..! Maybe not good or appropriate examples, but they conjure up the image, especially for you as a Rhodesian..!!

    And humans, themselves, historically and even today in “earthier” societies and cultures, are killing each other with alacrity. It’s only the practical application of “ethical egoism”, where people act in their own self-interest (if I kill you, you’ll kill me) and teachings of the philosophers and religions which makes it unethical for humans to kill humans.

    What no-one has hammered home is that the hunting (and animal killing) instinct is hard-wired into man, just like childbirth is to women. I mean, who on earth would contemplate going through the utter trauma (and danger) of childbirth when the world is over-populated and no more people are necessary to perpetuate the species..? Stripped of all the claptrap, it’s more “unethical” to make a (human) life through childbirth than it is to take an animal life in hunting. This is particularly so in societies which cannot fend for themselves, like, for example, Somalia where children are condemned to a life of misery, compared with the taking of an animal life sustainably without negatively affecting the conservation of biodiversity.

    Ultimately, to hunt we kill. No matter how kindly one tries to make killing, the fact is something dies. In an attempt to soften or hide that truth, hunters and their associations have attempted to create a mystique about hunting, using terminology like “ethics”, “fair chase”, etc. This may work on the fence-sitter animal welfarists who don’t care too much as long it’s out-of-sight-out-of-mind and not “cruel” to human sensibilities. But as you’ve pointed out repeatedly, it doesn’t work on AR’s. As much as hunters might try to make killing for hunting kinder, the AR’s will present it as morally unacceptable using modern-day propaganda techniques.

    The only way is to educate and sensitize the general public, like you’ve been doing with the elephant example and not to defend hunting, but to promote it.

    Hunters should shift away from the moralistic posturing of trying to defend the killing aspect of hunting, to rather expend their efforts in:

    • Proving logically that it’s not unethical or immoral to kill animals (no matter how they die);
    • Proving that it’s necessary to kill animals for the higher moral imperative of conservation of the natural world (as you do with the elephant debate);
    • Promoting, rather than defending, the role of hunting in wildlife conservation by giving value to animals;
    • Trashing the anthropomorphic views of AR’s and converting the general public away from this.
    There are many ways of doing this, starting with kids. Every boy is a natural born killer. Their base instinct has got little to do with “hunting” or the outdoors or all the other stuff which follows. Get them hunting and killing at an early age and you have a convert for life. But not only a convert, a person who will promote and defend hunting and influence hundreds if not thousands of others who have not had the privilege of doing the same. So why aren’t CHASA, PHASA, WRSA, SA Hunters et al doing this big time, instead of faction fighting amongst themselves..?

    My cynical view is that, anyway, the moralist posturing is simply a commercial tactic to defend a certain definition of hunting, in the hope that if other forms of hunting or killing are trashed, it will allow the perceived superior form to exist. It has little to do with ethics. And once all the perceived inferior forms are stopped, the AR’s will come after them. Everyone learns, eventually, that it doesn’t pay to feed the crocodile in the hope that it doesn’t eat you..!

    Best regards,

    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 22, 2017

  14. SafariA

    SafariA AH Veteran

    May 26, 2017
    Likes Received:
    The latest Phasa statement . FYI

    Happy Hunting

    Attached Files:

  15. siml

    siml AH ENABLER AH Legend

    Nov 26, 2013
    Likes Received:
    When I first started being a professional hunter, I joined PHASA, talking 20 years back. I had done my course through Ian Goss, and at the my first PHASA Agm, I had the privilege of meeting some of the stewards of the hunting industry that Ian introduced me to. Coenraad Vermaak, Matt Greef, Graham Jones and several others, I was was in awe of these gentlemen.

    Fast track to 2017, Matt Greef, Stewart Dorrington, Ian Goss, Hans Vermaak, Graham Jones, Paul Stone, George Aman (cic) just to mention a few names, have chosen a stance about PHASA, I respect these gentlemen and I give CPHC my support. In my opinion they know what is best for conservation in SA.

    To say we don't have a dog in the fight is naive, this effects everyone in the hunting industry.

    Quality is better than quantity.
    fourfive8 likes this.

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