‘This is one of the worst animal cruelty cases ‘: SPCA euthanise 30 lions

Posted by David Henning on 12 October 2021

WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGES. During recent wildfires in the Free State, the Bloemfontein SPCA was at the forefront to assist farmers with injured animals, where they were refused entry to a captive lion breeding farm in the Glen district, a clear indication that things were not well on the farm.

After five days of the owner not administrating any medical treatment to the lions, the SPCA had no choice but to obtain a warrant to enter the property.

The inspectors entered one of the worst cases of animal cruelty in South African history where the lions suffered severe lung damage, the Bloemfontein SPCA had no choice but to humanly euthanase 30 lions.

The SPCA came across a camp that was in terrible condition; structure poles were burnt down, fences hanging by a thread with open gapes and holes for lions to easily escape, but the lions were too weak to move.

Some lions were lying still with their paws turned upwards, their bodies badly burnt after the fires. The owner of the facility was not willing to invest financially, spending nothing on the welfare of the cats.

He no longer made provisions to feed the lions, if any cattle or wildlife died in the region, farmworkers would go collect it for food. They would even go collect dead chickens from a nearby poultry farm.

According to the SPCA report, the lions must have gone days without food, one cow now and then was not going to feed 59 lions and 3 tigers. The lions were underweight, incredibly, and with a low body score, with visible rib, pelvic and vertebrae bones.

‘I have never been this angry in my 30 years at the Bloemfontein SPCA. The lion is part of our big 5 in South Africa. The lion has huge status and as a country, we are supposed to be proud of our indigenous animals, but we have failed them. We cultivated an industry, legal or illegal, that misuses our animals for entertainment like hunting, bone trade, poaching, circus tricks, cub petting or keeping them in zoos or as pets.’ Said senior SPCA inspector, Reinet Meyer.  ‘This must stop. We should leave these animals to be free in the wild without any human contact, but we have failed that as a country. These lions were captive, and they burned, these lions were never free.’

The neglected enclosures were scattered with old carcasses and faeces, it was clear that no one enters them to clean, leaving the lions to live in unsanitary conditions. Three lions mutilated and killed their brother within 5 minutes and ate him because they were and are starving.

Lions, which are one of the few social animals in the cat family, would only resort to cannibalism in the most desperate of circumstances.

The SPCA report read that

‘This is one of the worst animal cruelty cases ever to happen in our careers. We were assisted by a veterinarian and worked in the pouring rain to attend to the lions. After the veterinarian sedated the lions to assess the level of injuries, we were horrified to see the severity of the injuries. The paw pads were burned off, with large blisters underneath the paws. Blood oozing from the wounds. The lion’s faces were burnt, and they couldn’t eat because of blisters in their mouths. The lions had severe smoke inhalation damage. The damage was so severe to the lungs that the lions started to drown in their blood. The heat of the fire caused a lion’s eyes to burst. The pain that these lions had to endure. I cannot even try to imagine the pain.’

Fortunately, The Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE) has gazetted a draft policy on 28 June in another step towards putting an end to the captive breeding of lions.

Public participation has been reopened for this draft policy position, calling on members of the public to submit their comments or sign a petition in support of the DFFE’s policy bill.  A petition can be signed via Blood Lions here.

After the lions were humanly euthanased, they were taken to a cremation site, where every incineration was supervised. The SPCA were adamant that no one will benefit from any by-product of the lions and were carrying all the costs.

The SPCA is still at the farm in an ongoing battle to ensure the remaining lions left receive water, get fed, and live inadequate enclosures. The SPCA has fianced the entire process, with the owner refusing to pay anything, and requesting the carcasses and bones of the euthanased lions. If anyone from the public would like to support the Bloemfontein SPCA, can read more here.

Pictues: SPCA Bloemfontein


Zimbabwean conservation hero dies after tragic elephant encounter


yoast-primary -
tcat - Travel news
tcat_slug - travel-news
tcat2 -
tcat2_slug -
tcat_final -