Blood Lions The Terrible Truth Behind Canned Hunting

Photo by Pippa Hankinson Blood Lions

Photo by Pippa Hankinson Blood Lions

Blood Lions. The Terrible Truth Behind Canned Hunting

Last night on MSNBC, I watched the American television premiere of Blood Lions. This documentary takes you inside the  “canned lion hunting” industry in South Africa. I admit the documentary is hard to watch due to the horrific treatment of African lions but I want to emphasize how important it is not to turn a blind eye because the images make us uncomfortable.

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. Canned hunting is 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.

You might not have been aware of this cruel industry even though United States citizens are in large part the people fueling the canned hunting industry.   The hunting and death of Cecil the lion woke up the world, shining a light on lion hunting practices and this film, Blood Lions, reveals the dark dimension to trophy hunting in Africa.

Blood Lions Included Both Sides Pro and Con

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 and a lead character in Blood Lions, said:   “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; And this support ranges from donors and the wider citizenry who are concerned or outraged about what is going on to decision-makers and politicians. I would like to thank all of you – the millions of Americans who have been so outspoken and vociferous about predator breeding and canned hunting – your support has been vital to raising the profile of Blood Lions around the world. For all of us, the first screenings of the film here are very exciting and we so look forward to getting actively involved in the campaign across your great country.”

The Blood Lions Trailer

Producer, and driving force behind 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.”

Pippa Hankinson lion image

Photo by Pippa Hankinson Blood Lions

Blood Lions is a  Call To Action

Hankinson goes on to say, “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.   Our hope is that our film will help make the changes that are so needed, to ensure that our children’s children will be able to see these majestic animals roaming free in the wild-where they rightfully belong!”

Join The Movement

Learn more about the movement to expose the canned hunting industry.  You can visit for detailed information on how to get involved.  Sometimes even simply talking about what you have learned, letting your family and friends know about the horror of the canned hunting industry is part of getting a movement started.

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  1. Something really needs to be done about this horrible, horrible practice.

    • Now there is momentum so I think going forward there is a better chance of public outcry helping to end this cruelty. The documentary is very hard to watch but important.

  2. da tabbies o trout towne says

    I’ll never understand the rationale behind this; I could rant until pigs actually do learn to fly….. the bottom line is there is NOTHING about trophy hunting//sport hunting//canned hunting…hunting period….. that is civilized, humane, urbane or any other verbiage one can use to describe it…. lets imagine for a moment…. what would happen….if the animals of this earth, learned to use weapons too~~~

  3. Shadow Dance Ranch Kittehs says

    So angry. Wish the tables were turned on these people. It would serve them right. If they really care about these animals and say their money is *protecting* them, then they should just donate the money to really help them and then brag about that. People make me ill.