July 10, 2024

The Code of Conduct and Practice (CoCP) for the veterinary profession does not specifically deal with the euthanasia of lion itself. The CoCP provides in general that a veterinarian may euthanise a healthy animal if there is a justifiable reason to do so. Within the context of captive lion breeding, and the 5 freedoms of animals, to with:

  • Freedom from hunger and thirst;
  • Freedom from discomfort;
  • Freedom from pain, injury or disease,
  • Freedom to express normal behaviour; and
  • Freedom from fear and distress:

such considerations could be, amongst others, that there is not sufficient or correct food available to feed the lion/s, no shelter or inadequate living conditions to keep the lion, if applicable, possible inbreeding, overcrowding or enclosures of inappropriate size or if the farmer decides to close the business, not being able to find alternative and adequate care for the lions.

Should a complaint be received by the SAVC, each matter will be considered on its own merit (it is not a one size fits all approach). The veterinarian has a professional discretion to exercise and in the event of a complaint, that veterinarian will have to justify his/her decision to the SAVC having due regard to the prevailing conditions in a particular breeding facility, as well as the principles set out in this statement. Due to the variety of reasons that could emanate which could justify the euthanasia of a group of captive lions, the SAVC cannot be prescriptive and have to rely on the professional judgment of the veterinarian in each individual matter, at the hand of the justification ground presented at the time.

Council approved
Date: 09/07/2024

Picture: Freepik

July 10, 2024

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