Thousands Of Lions Are Being Bred On Farms To Be Shot By Hunters
Thousands of lions are being bred on farms in South Africa and then killed by rich trophy hunters, a shocking report has revealed.
It also found that other big cats are being butchered and used for 'medicines' after being sold to buyers in the Far East.
The horrific revelations come as the result of a year-long investigation into the 'barbaric' industry by Conservative peer, Lord Ashcroft.
The study, published yesterday, found hunters are willing to pay up to £42,000 to slaughter a lion, depending on its size.
It also claimed that around 50 lions were killed at one 'eco-farm' and ground into medicines, in just two days.
The powerful animals were also kept in tiny cages and made to endure appalling conditions in a farm's blood-stained slaughterhouse before they were killed.
The report also published awful videos and pictures of tourists shooting lions with tranquillizer darts during an illegal hunt.
But one of the most shocking things to come out of it is that some of these tourists may not even have known the animals they had just shot had been raised for illegal hunts.
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Speaking to the Mail on Sunday, the Tory politician said he hoped it would help bring an end to the industry.
He said: "My year-long probe lifts the lid on barbaric and illegal practices at the heart of South Africa's deeply shameful lion trade.
"The investigation shows how up to 12,000 lions bred in captivity are destined either to be shot by wealthy hunters - in what is often a pathetic charade of a hunt - or killed in squalid abattoirs so their bones can be exported to the Far East.
"Britain's complicity in lion farming is also laid bare by my undercover investigators, which includes ex-Special Forces soldiers, who have exposed how hunters and middlemen from this country are involved in the despicable trade."
According to reports, South Africa allows around 800 captive-bred lion skeletons to be exported every year, which can go for about £125 a kilo, or as much as £4,600 for an entire skeleton.
It's understood that almost all of these sales are made in Vietnam, Thailand and Laos, where the bones are then boiled down and used in cakes.
However, campaigners say these may be conservative estimates and many more animals could be leaving the country than are officially known.
Dr Mark Jones, a vet and head of policy at the Born Free Foundation, said: "Far from contributing to wild lion protection, captive lion breeding facilities cynically exploit these animals at every stage for profit.
"Ultimately many of these animals will end up in canned hunts or as part of the bone trade. It's factory farming by another name."
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