SAMPEO statement with regards to PHASA.
SAMPEO was formed in 2011 by a collective of outfitters who were passionate about PHASA and who had spent many dedicated hours to get PHASA into the position it held at the time.
SAMPEO was started as a vehicle to market its members in an ever more competitive and difficult professional hunting industry, and not as an elite club or association. SAMPEO is made up of a PHASA founder member, a past PHASA President and 2 vice presidents, and 3 PH’s/Outfitters with over 20 years of continued membership with PHASA.
In order to be considered for SAMPEO, there were a couple of prerequisites. Amongst these were, firstly, you had to be a member of PHASA in good standing. Secondly,you had to contribute the the PHASA Conservation and Empowerment fund and thirdly, you had to commit to NOT HUNTING captive bred lions. We felt and still do feel that these pre requisites are essential for the well being of PHASA and responsible hunting which we all hold dearly to our hearts. When PHASA took the decision at the 2013 AGM to adopt the SAPA document, the members of SAMPEO were understandably distressed. It went against what we strongly believed in (and still do believe). We felt it lowered the integrity of PHASA with many of its members and some of its supporters. We strongly felt that PHASA had to reverse the situation and distance itself from captive bred lion hunting UNTIL it had a policy it could defend.
Unfortunately, the SAMPEO opposition to the PHASA stance on lions was construed by some as being in opposition to PHASA. SAMPEO does not see itself as an elitist group of PH`s or outfitters but rather regards itself as a pressure group within PHASA, to try and make a positive and socially acceptable contribution to lion hunting in South Africa. We also feel that PHASA has not done enough to warn its members of the consequences and threats that the lion industry posed, and continues to pose, to both PHASA and hunting in general.
As the SAMPEO view was referred to as a minority view on captive bred lion hunting, SAMPEO therefore felt it was necessary to use different media to state its position and to measure support such a view has. This unfortunately has lead to the perception that SAMPEO was an association in opposition to PHASA, which it is not !
SAMPEO recognises that unity in the hunting industry is important and does not want fragmentation of the professional hunting industry and especially PHASA. However, we feel that the shooting of captive bred lions is going to ultimately close trophy hunting in Africa as it is not socially sustainable and brings all trophy hunting into disrepute. It is thus important to demonstrate to the public that professional hunters are not the stereotype as painted by the media, and that hunters do have a conscience and care about the wellbeing of animals, wildlife and responsible sustainable conservation practices.
If PHASA cannot be persuaded to change its position on captive bred lions by taking ownership of its own set of norms and standards and rejecting the SAPA document, SAMPEO will reluctantly therefore be pressured into considering starting an association advocating the lion ethics we strongly believe in today.
SAMPEO membership is free and open to any like minded person or organization who uphold our principals and code of ethics.