Vegetarians International Voice for Animals

Nikon in the Can – Exposure Continues

Viva!life Issue: 
Issue 53 | Summer 2013
Our exposure continues as another leading wildlife photographer backs Viva!’s campaign. By Justin Kerswell campaigns manager

Our campaign to persuade leading camera manufacturer, Nikon, to end its support for hunting has sent shockwaves around the worldwide photography community and was featured in the Independent and Daily Mail.

It has also attracted the support of yet another renowned photographer – Christopher Rimmer, whose camera captures Africa’s beautiful and majestic wildlife whilst Nikon facilitates its destruction.

In the last issue of Viva!life, we detailed how Nikon not only sponsors trophy hunting in the United States, but also produces a rifle-scope designed specifically for hunting ‘large game’ in Africa. Promotional materials for their camera equipment states:

“Nature is full of moments of timeless beauty, to be captured before they are gone forever.”

Have you ever heard such sickening hypocrisy? Clearly not because many of you agreed with us and our online petition has attracted thousands of signatures and continues to do so.

Nikon’s response to our complaint was:

“Nikon Sport Optics manufactures the products for outdoor enthusiasts and respects legal hunting, conservation and wildlife management that meets local and national regulations.” In other words, they don’t care.

Recent investigations have uncovered the horrific practice of ‘canned hunting’ in South Africa. Lions are raised in a closed environment, with cubs taken from their mothers at just a day old and then hand-reared, their mothers forced to have around five litters every two years. In other words – factory farming for lions.

Unsuspecting tourists often pay to feed these ‘orphan’ cubs, not knowing what fate actually awaits them. They grow into young lions that have only ever known the affection of humans. That ends when they are shot dead by men and women who pay thousands of pounds to kill them – essentially tame animals that have no hope of escaping. There are around 160 farms in South Africa that breed big cats for this very purpose

Sadly, some of these hunters are British and as it is currently not illegal to import lion parts into this country, our regulations (or lack of them) is helping to fuel this barbaric practice.

Whilst Nikon has not explicitly backed the canned hunting of lions, its products will almost certainly be used for this purpose. In the past, its publicity materials have shown a baseball-capped man grinning beside a dead lion.

Nikon is hiding behind what is a legal get out clause, with company profits triumphing over morality. They have never, to the best of our knowledge, condemned the practice of canned hunting.

If Nikon wishes to redeem itself in the eyes of thousands of wildlife photographers who are now shunning the brand, it must drop its support for hunting and join the growing chorus of voices that condemns the destruction of wild Africa.

If you haven’t done so already, complain to Nikon:

Online: sign the petition and email www.viva.org.uk/nikon Phone: 0330 123 0932. Write: Nikon UK Limited, 380 Richmond Road, Kingston upon Thames, Surrey KT2 5PR

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