On 7 October, MSNBC will present the American television premiere of Blood
Lions, a compelling documentary which takes audiences inside the so called
canned lion hunting industry in South Africa.
Blood Lions follows environmental journalist and safari operator Ian
Michler and American hunter Rick Swazey, as they expose the multi-million dollar
industry of canned hunting – where lions are bred and raised in confined areas for
trophy hunting. Also known as captive bred lion hunting, canned hunts allow hunters
to select their lion ahead of time and complete a hunt in a matter of days. Canned
hunts provide a cheaper and faster way of hunting predatory animals compared to
wild lion hunts.
The documentary includes the perspective of both proponents of this practice who
say that hunting helps preserve Africa’s lion population and conservationists who
are quick to dispute that claim.
Senior producer for MSNBC, Tim Smith, commented that: “Blood Lions
is a revelatory and sad tale that demands to be told – and we are pleased to be
able to bring it to our viewers.’
Ian Michler, environmentalist, had this to say: “While it is true that the majority of
trophy hunters coming to South Africa are from the USA, and that many of them
are going after captive-bred lions, it is equally true that Blood Lions is
also receiving significant support in the USA. This support ranges from donors and
the wider citizenry who are concerned or outraged about what is going on to
decision-makers and politicians.’
Producer of the film, Pippa Hankinson said: “We have been overwhelmed by the
extraordinary response that Blood Lions has received from so many
across the USA, and are immensely grateful to MSNBC for the incredible
opportunity to premiere this important story on American television. The film
exposes the cruel exploitation of South Africa’s lions which are being intensively
bred on farms resembling large scale puppy mills. These magnificent animals are
being bottle fed and hand reared simply for the bullet – for vast profits – in an
industry which is not open to public scrutiny. Blood Lions is a call to
action – a call to all who view it to make conscious choices around our
responsibilities towards our planet and the amazing creatures with whom we have
the privilege to share it.