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Blood Lions follows internationally acclaimed environmental journalist and safari operator Ian Michler onto breeding farms to witness the results of lions reared in battery cages – a stark contrast to their wild cousins. Aggressive farmers resent his questioning, but the highly profitable commercialization of lions is plain to see – cub petting, volunteer recruitment, lion walking, hunting, and the new lion bone trade are all on the increase and are being justified under the guise of conservation and research. In parallel, the film follows Rick Swazey, an American hunter, who volunteers his services after seeing footage of canned hunts. Rick purchases a lioness online from his home in Hawaii and then travels to South Africa to follow the path canned hunters do. Blood Lions bears witness, in intimate detail, to the lucrative business of breeding lions for hunting, how the authorities and most professional hunting bodies have become complicit in the practice, and how simple it is to set up a canned hunt. But the film also uncovers some hope, following the latest developments surrounding the Australian government’s announcement of a complete ban on the importation of all African lion trophies into the country. Blood Lions is a compelling call to action about the need for a global campaign to stop lions from being bred for the bullet.
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