Angry South African President fully rejects US allegations against him and his Phala Phala wildlife farm over treatment of animals

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In a statement on Saturday, the presidency in South Africa said allegations against President Cyril Ramaphosa and his Phala Phala wildlife farm over the ethical treatment of animals are false.

The allegations were made by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).

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The presidency in South Africa issued the following statement.

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Statement on allegations made by PETA against Phala Phala Wildlife and President Cyril Ramaphosa

Phala Phala Wildlife has noted a statement carried on the US website of the group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) that makes a number of unfounded allegations against Phala Phala and its owner, President Cyril Ramaphosa.

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The allegations are patently false and are refuted in full.

The facts are as follows:

•    Neither the President nor Phala Phala have a stake in the trophy hunting industry or in Tsala Hunting Safaris.
•    Phala Phala is a privately-owned wildlife farm whose business is breeding game. Tsala are privately-owned hunting outfitters.
•    Phala Phala has been in operation since 2010 and is run in accordance with the strictest conservation and wildlife management principles.
•    Phala Phala’s wildlife breeding and management activities comply with best ethical and lawful practice in the sector.  

Neither Phala Phala nor President Ramaphosa is engaged in illegal or unethical activities in any form.

The following serves to clarify the nature of the relationship between Phala Phala and Tsala Hunting Safaris.

•    Phala Phala undertakes annual culls of game such as impala, buffalo, kudu and wildebeest to avoid carrying excess numbers.
•    Culling is an established wildlife management tool practiced around the globe, including in state-run conservation reserves.
•    Phala Phala entered into an agreement with Tsala Hunting Safaris to hunt the aforementioned game that would in any event have been culled.

In the light of allegations that Tsala engages in the hunting of threatened or protected species on other properties, Phala Phala has given notice to Tsala Safaris to terminate the hunting arrangement with them. 

This decision is in line with Phala Phala’s commitment to sound conservation principles, and its demonstrable compliance with ethical and lawful wildlife management standards.

Phala Phala Wildlife notes that PETA US has previously made false allegations regarding the President’s interest in racing pigeon breeding.

President Ramaphosa has been a pigeon breeder since the age of 16 and owned a flock of pigeons as a young man living in Soweto in the 1960s and ‘70s.

The President has been engaging with breeders in Soweto and the Western Cape about the development of the industry, as well as on the increased participation of young, black entrants in pigeon racing. 

Pigeon racing has been practised since the 1800s and is a sport with a substantial global following.

That PETA US continues to use its platforms to disseminate false information regarding Phala Phala Wildlife and President Ramaphosa is wholly regrettable.

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Simon Ateba
Simon Ateba covers the White House, the U.S. government, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions for Today News Africa in Washington D.C. Simon can be reached on simonateba@todaynewsafrica.com

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