Landmark FoundationAn article in the Sunday Argus got my wildlife-loving attention this weekend.

Well, admittedly, the grisly photos got me first – a leopard’s paw, mangled by a gin trap, and jackal carcasses strung up along a farmside fence – not pretty.

Stomach-lurchingly un-pretty.

When I’d recovered sufficiently, I got to reading the article itself, and started feeling a bit better:

‘New meat brand aims to protect wildlife’

A conservation group (the Landmark Foundation) is poised to launch its own ‘predator-friendly’ meat brand that will discourage the use of ‘barbaric’ leg-hold traps, indiscriminate poisons and hunting-dog packs to ward off predators including leopards, lynxes, caracals and jackals.

In case you’re wondering how else the farmers can keep their flocks from being chomped, a number of ‘non-lethal and holistic’ ways of protecting livestock are put forward as alternatives, among them using Anatolian shepherd dogs and fitting sheep with protective collars (I’m curious as to what these do, exactly…).

By buying meat bearing the new ‘wildlife-friendly’ brand eco-conscious folk like you and me will be able to support actively the farmers who have ‘shifted to non-lethal ecologically and ethically acceptable predator management’ instead of those who couldn’t be bothered.

Sounds good to me and, apparently, the major retailers (Shoprite, Pick’n’Pay, Woolworths and Spar are mentioned) have indicated their support for the initiative.

But, no doubt they’ll still need to be encouraged, so next time you’re out shopping, ask (nay, insist!) on predator-friendly meat options – because the more of us do so, the greater the demand will be for them, the more likely it is that farmers will switch to ‘ecologically acceptable’ farming practices and, of course, the more likely it is that shops will stock them.

(And, most importantly, the fewer mangled leopards’ paws we’re likely to see when browsing the weekend newspapers – amen to that).

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