Press Release Feb 2019

It has come to our attention that there are many false allegations and assumptions, perpetuated and advanced by some of our detractors, about Custodians and we would like to put the record straight on these issues.

Firstly, we are not against hunting behind high fences. Many of our members are game farm owners themselves and we recognise that almost all hunting in South Africa is fenced.

Secondly, we have never attacked game farmers but have warned that certain practices within the game farming industry have little hunting value and are detrimental to the image and marketing of hunting abroad. These criticisms have largely come true with the crash in market prices for colour variants and intensively bred animals. We warned that there is little demand from hunters for these animals and that the image of farmed, tagged and fed animals is bad for the image of hunting in SA.

Thirdly, we have always been opposed to the captive bred lion industry as was PHASAs policy for many years. It is nothing new and stating that publicly demonstrates that there are hunters who still care about the integrity of the industry and not short-term profit.

Fourthly, Custodians did not split the industry. When PHASA removed ethics from its constitution it enabled the captive bred lion industry which many within PHASA opposed. This move by PHASA caused almost all past presidents to resign as well as all remaining founder members. In addition, most of the annual awards were withdrawn by their sponsors. The fallout, and outrage was far and wide and this ocurred BEFORE Custodians was formed. Hunting associations around the world distanced themselves from PHASA as did many of the traditional sponsors and partners. This created a void in the SA professional hunting industry. Custodians was formed as its initial members did not feel they could in all good conscience continue being aligned with an association that they felt was damaging the industry, and Custodians stepped in to fill this void.

Fifthly, there was much dissatisfaction with PHASA and after the 2017 AGM, SA Hunters started their own PH category which is far bigger than Custodians! However, Custodians maintain a healthy relationship of cooperation with SA Hunters which has 42 000 members and has a very similar ethical standpoint to Custodians.

Sixth, SAMPEO was never an organisation nor an association. It was a group of 7 only, and remained AS such. All members were loyal PHASA supporters to the end. SAMPEO did not become Custodians. Custodians was formed by a meeting of 27 likeminded PHs, and it was limited to 27 only because the venue couldn`t take more at that time!

Seventh, Custodians are not seeking to be friends with ‘antis’ and AR movements. We strongly oppose the stand that they take and we strongly resist their attempts to tarnish an industry it seems they refuse to understand. However, we will engage with whoever is prepared to engage in the hope of changing opinions. Many people who support the AR movements are unaware of the contribution hunting makes to conservation. One must also then establish who are the genuine researchers and scientists and work with them. Currently, certain individuals and organisations regard everybody who doesn`t agree with unconditional sustainable use as animal rightist. We do not seek to be popular amongst those who oppose us. However, we do wish to know them, and to where reasonably possible, engage with them with the aim of educating them and ensuring that they understand what we stand for and why we stand for what we do..

Lastly, Custodians is a hunting association and will pursue policies that are beneficial to hunting and conservation and will not compromise the image and integrity on hunting to accommodate practices that negatively affect our industry and thus our livelihoods as professional hunters.

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