Blood Lions: An in-depth look at South Africa’s growing captive-bred hunting industry

Some 90 minutes are more enjoyable than others: 90 minutes watching by beloved Arsenal, great; 90 minutes in the gym, tiring but great; 90 minutes talking crap and having a drink with some mates, also great. But 90 minutes watching a documentary on the plight of South Africa’s captive-bred lions…that’s not great. Not in the least.

But that is how I spent 90 minutes of Thursday night. Megan joined me, and we headed through to the Durban International Film Festival‘s late-night screening of Blood Lions, a film that sinks its claws [#sorrynotsorry] into the controversial “canned hunting” industry. It is by no means an easy watch.

PICTURE: IAN MICHLER (www.bloodlions.org) A new documentary takes a critical look at the "canned hunting" industry in South Africa -- and paints a pretty horrible picture.
PICTURE: IAN MICHLER (www.bloodlions.org)
A new documentary takes a critical look at the “canned hunting” industry in South Africa — and paints a pretty horrible picture.

Produced by veteran environmental journalist Ian MichlerBlood Lions is a vitally important film. It speaks to what we are prepared to accept — or not — as a nation. It speaks to animal cruelty issues. It speaks to tourism [and responsible tourism, in particular] implications. It speaks to economic implications. It speaks to conservation. It speaks to the ease of organising hunts, right up to the point of picking in advance which lion you’d like to kill [I’m not joking…this is legit the situation]. It speaks to volunteerism [or voluntourism, if you will]. It’s as comprehensive as it is critical, irrespective of your views on hunting.

It’s very much worth the watch — as hard a watch as it is.

I wrote about Blood Lions in the Sunday Times this past weekend, and you can check that out. Alternatively, check out the official Blood Lions site.

PICTURE: IAN MICHLER (www.bloodlions.org)
PICTURE: IAN MICHLER (www.bloodlions.org)
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