White hunt clubs are exterminating wildlife in Africa

To: undisclosed-recipients: ;
Subject: White hunt clubs are exterminating wildlife in Africa
From: "david camilleri" <>
Date: Sun, 17 Mar 2002 16:27:15 -0500

    White hunt clubs and racist laws are exterminating wildlife in South
Africa at a shocking rate through institutionalized slaughter via
government support.  Whole species of animals are systematically
destroyed through the violence of armed and dog-assisted white-only hunt
clubs. Authorized by a fifty-year-old piece of apartheid-era legislation
that allows any six persons who are not black to form a hunt club, these
'clubs' behave like terrorists by invading and damaging any private
property - even a wildlife sanctuary.  The regional extinction of
declared species is the lawful, State-sponsored aim of this legislation
and even animals such as the caracal which is listed in CITES Appendix
II, are treated as vermin.

    Please read the post below to fully understand the problem and what
you can do to help. The urgency is also explained.

    The Kalahari Raptor Centre (KRC) is a wildlife sanctuary in South
Africa and the only registered wildlife rehabilitation centre in the
vast Northern Cape Province. Chris Mercer and Beverly Pervan who run the
KRC and are authors of the book 'For The Love of Wildlife', which is
dedicated to the "vanishing spirit of wild Africa and its purest
essence, the magnificent predators, with whom Mankind refuses to live or
let live", have paid the price of putting this dedication into
practice.  The price they paid for saving three caracals from the
medieval Problem Animal Control Ordinance of 1957 amounted to more than
a hundred thousand rands in legal expenses, 18 months of victimization,
defamation, malicious prosecution, illegal invasion of property, threats
and intimidation, illegal confiscation of animals, abuse of authority
and further legal proceedings still to come. Their crime? Rescuing two
infant caracals and their injured mother from being shot by the farmer
who had trapped them in a gin trap.

    Chris and Bev were convicted in the Magistrates Court in September
2001 for keeping caracals without a permit, and sentenced to heavy fines
which were suspended on certain conditions. They have appealed to the
High Court in Kimberley from which a further appeal lies to the
Constitutional Court.  Herein lies the urgency for this appeal. The
Minister has the right to give his views on the constitutional validity
of this appalling old apartheid legislation, for the benefit of the High
Court judges. The appeal is expected to be heard shortly.
The KRC applied for permits to care for caracals both before and after
the rescue, but all applications were refused by the provincial nature
conservation officials on the ground that caracals are vermin, and must
therefore be killed, not cared for. The Problem Animal Control Ordinance
of 1957 is a declaration of war upon and an extermination program for
several species of wildlife including the Caracal (lynx) and the
Black-Backed Jackal.   Reactionary officials have unlawfully extended
the use of this statute to harmless species such as the Cape Fox by -
quite without legal foundation - classifying them as 'potential problem
animals.'  This racist apartheid-era law was framed to protect the
narrow commercial interests of a tiny white minority of livestock
farmers. The ordinance specifically excludes blacks, and twelve years
after Nelson Mandela walked to freedom, officials continue to enforce a
law which begins: "Any six persons who are not black may form a hunt club."

    The provisions of the Ordinance read like something out of Hitler's
"Mein Kampf."  Any attempt to harbour or care for declared enemies of
the State is strictly forbidden.  Wildlife sanctuaries and eco-tourism
resorts are treated as  illegal breeding grounds for vermin. Local
white-only hunt clubs are given the power to carry out an armed invasion
of any private property, killing any declared (and, in practice,
undeclared) animals on sight. No notice or permission is required by the
hunt from the occupiers of the invaded land and any attempt to resist
the invasion is unlawful. No compensation is paid for damage and losses,
instead, the hunters are paid and rewarded by the taxpayer for their
murder and destruction and may recover all of their expenses from the
owner/occupier of the land they have just raped.  All methods of hunting
are condoned, whether it be poison, set-guns, gin traps, or the pouring
of diesel fuel down burrows and burning the occupants alive. Hundreds of
thousands of animals, mostly harmless non-target animals such as
bat-eared and Cape Foxes are slain in these unselective hunts. In a few
short years, the hunt club known as the Oranjejag exterminated 87,570
animals in the Free State alone. About seventy percent (60,340) were
Cape Foxes.  And the Cape Fox is a protected species.

    Chris Mercer states: "At our own expense we have launched High Court
proceedings against the department to stop the obscene slaughter of the
Cape Fox and have formally requested the Public Protector to intervene.
The scale of the inhumanity and slaughter caused by the Problem Animal
Control Ordinances and the hunt clubs are a national scandal and deserve
a judicial committee of enquiry.  We believe that this monstrous
legislation far exceeds any legitimate need for livestock farmers to
protect themselves from stock predation.  By contrast, the Kalahari
Raptor Centre welcomes over 1,000 schoolchildren each year, many from
disadvantaged backgrounds, to visit for environmental education in an
attempt to teach compassion.  Who are the true conservationists, us or
the officials?  Who are the true criminals, us or the officials"?
    "Parliament wants these animals to be protected, yet the officials
of the Northern Cape Nature Conservation Services insist in proclaiming
open hunting upon them in 18 of the 28 magisterial districts of the
Northern Cape province. Scarce and valuable animals like Brown Hyenas
are trapped in vicious gin traps and then shot - by officials of this
department.  A canned rhino hunt facilitated by this same department in
Kuruman municipal game park allowed a hunter to torture a semi-tame
rhino cow to death over an 8 hour period, eventually employing a
helicopter to complete his brutal sport.  The same officials intervened
with the prosecuting authority to stop a prosecution of the hunter on
cruelty charges".
"The National Environmental Management Act of 1998 lays down intelligent
principles to be followed and the new Biodiversity Bill also has
provisions protecting animals like caracals which are listed on CITES
Appendix II.  Although Parliament in Cape Town passes new democratic
laws, these laws are disregarded by reactionary provincial officials who
prefer the old apartheid laws. 'Nature Conservation' thus remains
untransformed; the last bastion of the apartheid regime in South


How you can Help

    Racist Laws and Brutal Hunt Clubs must be ELIMINATED and the new
democratic laws, which require often intransigent officials to heed the
views of the animal welfare community, must be enforced.

    With the World Conference on Sustainable Development due to take
place in South Africa in August 2002 we need to bring this to
BUT PRACTICE EXTERMINATION. This Biodiversity Convention to which South
Africa is also a signatory is clearly incompatible with compulsory
liquidation of whole species.   Delegates to the Summit need to be made
aware of what is really going on.

    We ask you to please use your voice for the wildlife while there is
still time. It will be heard and it will make a difference.  For
example, thanks to vigorous protest by nearly fifty animal welfare
organizations worldwide, officials were compelled to allow the release
back to the wild of the two healthy caracals, notwithstanding a
forfeiture order by the Magistrate.  Public pressure made all the
difference. The fate of the mother 'Tripod" (pictured) the three legged
caracal is still in issue.

Dear Sirs
We wish to express our disgust at the  treatment of so-called problem
animals in South Africa, and the failure of the government to transform
the apartheid-era laws, policies and mindset of the provincial nature
conservation departments.  We ask Minister Valli Moosa to take the
opportunity given to him by the forthcoming appeal by the Kalahari
Raptor Centre against its conviction for rescuing three caracals, and to
send a letter to the Registrar of the Kimberley High Court stating that
government supports the KRC's contention that the Problem Animal Control
Ordinance, 26 of 1957, is unconstitutional in the respects set out in Mr
Mercer's heads of Argument, and should be declared invalid in its entirety.

We ask him also to re-organise and transform the provincial departments
so that they employ staff who do not flout the new democratic laws, and
who heed the wishes of the animal welfare community, which is the
'affected community' in terms of the National Environmental Management
Act, 107 of 1998 in all matters concerning animal welfare.
Yours truly,


The ANC (Ruling party in South Africa)

Minister for the Environment  - Valli Moosa - 

The Provincial MEC for Environment and Nature Conservation, Kimberley

The Secretariat for United Nations Environment Program (UNEP)

The Secretariat for Biodiversity Convention

The Secretariat for CITES Convention


Your own local media, and any person or org  who you think can help.
Your own national and non-government orgs who may wish to attend the
World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg.

>Contact info:
Kalahari Raptor Centre
Bev and Chris
Tel/Fax: 053 712 3576

 The time is always right to do what is right.
 Martin Luther King Jr.
Kind Regards
Chris and Bev
Kalahari Raptor Centre
Tel: 053 712 3576
david camilleri

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