PETA, the President and Phala Phala

PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is a notorious animal rights group in the US. The organisation recently posted a video on its website which claims to expose South African President Cyril Ramaphosa as secretly profiting from animal cruelty at the Phala Phala game reserve. While the ethics surrounding hunting and particularly trophy hunting are up for debate, the presidency says culling livestock at the wildlife reserve is a legal and regulated activity. The presidency responds to PETA’s recent assertions about secret profiteering by the president and alleged cruelty to animals. – Melani Nathan

From The Presidency:

Phala Phala Wildlife has noted a statement carried on the US website of the group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) that makes a number of unfounded allegations against Phala Phala and its owner, President Cyril Ramaphosa.

The allegations are patently false and are refuted in full.

The facts are as follows:

  • Neither the President nor Phala Phala have a stake in the trophy hunting industry or in Tsala Hunting Safaris.
  • Phala Phala is a privately-owned wildlife farm whose business is breeding game. Tsala are privately-owned hunting outfitters.
  • Phala Phala has been in operation since 2010 and is run in accordance with the strictest conservation and wildlife management principles.
  • Phala Phala’s wildlife breeding and management activities comply with best ethical and lawful practice in the sector.

Neither Phala Phala nor President Ramaphosa is engaged in illegal or unethical activities in any form.

The following serves to clarify the nature of the relationship between Phala Phala and Tsala Hunting Safaris.

  • Phala Phala undertakes annual culls of game such as impala, buffalo, kudu and wildebeest to avoid carrying excess numbers.
  • Culling is an established wildlife management tool practiced around the globe, including in state-run conservation reserves.
  • Phala Phala entered into an agreement with Tsala Hunting Safaris to hunt the aforementioned game that would in any event have been culled.

In the light of allegations that Tsala engages in the hunting of threatened or protected species on other properties, Phala Phala has given notice to Tsala Safaris to terminate the hunting arrangement with them.

This decision is in line with Phala Phala’s commitment to sound conservation principles, and its demonstrable compliance with ethical and lawful wildlife management standards.

Read also: Keep high-risk species like rhino off wildlife markets to prevent pandemics – AWF, Kariega

Phala Phala Wildlife notes that PETA US has previously made false allegations regarding the President’s interest in racing pigeon breeding.

President Ramaphosa has been a pigeon breeder since the age of 16 and owned a flock of pigeons as a young man living in Soweto in the 1960s and ‘70s.

Read also: SA wildlife protection in danger amid Covid-19 tourism woes

The President has been engaging with breeders in Soweto and the Western Cape about the development of the industry, as well as on the increased participation of young, black entrants in pigeon racing.

Pigeon racing has been practised since the 1800s and is a sport with a substantial global following.

That PETA US continues to use its platforms to disseminate false information regarding Phala Phala Wildlife and President Ramaphosa is wholly regrettable.

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