Cape Town - There has been a dramatic increase in the breeding of some wild animals, including lions, for unnatural colour mutations, the NSPCA says.
The society said in a statement on Thursday that this was being done for profit as these colours had created a demand of their own.
Spokesperson Ainsley Hay said as soon as wild animals became intensively managed farm animals, unethical practices are used to increase profits.
This includes confining the animals to the smallest spaces possible and removing young animals before they are weaned, so that the mothers can mate again.
Hay said inbreeding was actively practiced to create the colour mutations and species are intentionally hybridised to create oddities.
“People are buying colour mutants as investments. Some of these people don’t even own land,” the NSPCA said.
Hay said farmed wild animal slaughter is often inhumane.
“Even in canned lion hunts, it is exceptionally rare that a hunter will kill a lion outright with one shot.
“Often these animals need multiple shots to finally kill them… the majority of the shots are lung shots, which leads the animal to choke on its own blood over an extended time. “
Hay said novel methods of hunting, such as the use of bow and arrows, add even further cruelty.
"In an ideal world, facilities that house wild animals in captivity or intensive conditions, should not be allowed to breed these animals unless the animal is endangered.
Merely breeding for profit is unethical and is a welfare and conservation disaster.