Richard Peirce: Cuddle Me, Kill Me

I’m interviewing author and conservationist Richard Peirce tomorrow, We met at a TeamEarth event in Bristol a few weeks ago, where he hosted a showing of the unforgettable (and rather bleak) 2015 film ‘Blood Lions‘.

Richard, who divides his time between South Africa and Cornwall (here in the UK he is perhaps mostly known for his work conserving sharks with the Shark Trust), recently wrote a sort-of follow up book which absolutely blasts the canned lion industry and is well worth buying: Cuddle Me, Kill Me (which apart from anything else has one heck of title…).

Putting bullets into lions seems a very difficult industry to defeat. Exposes of the canned lion industry, with it’s related ‘petting tourism’ and ‘walking with lions’ offshoots, have been around since Roger Cook’s famous ‘Making a Killing’ report was shown on ITV back in 1997. Even the global release of ‘Blood Lions’ doesn’t seem to have slowed the industry down. There appears to be a long queue of empathy-deficient ‘hunters’ (or more properly ‘gun owners who like to kill animals’) willing to prove their manhood by shooting a lion in a cage. Cynical owners/operators have dug in and greenwash their sordid activities by burying opponents under claims of ‘conservation’ (technically, yes, there are more lions in South Africa now than in previous decades, but only in the sense that opening an intensive chicken factory in a town means there are now more chickens in that town than previously).

It’ll be interesting to find out from Richard what solutions might exist, and what he considers the next moves should be. And what about the intervention in April of Tory peer Michael Ashcroft, a man who appears to be ruthless in business on the one hand but against canned lion hunting on the other (that link, incidentally, leads to Ashcroft’s own website where he writes about himself in the third person – not something I’ve ever felt comfortable about but then again I’m not worth 1.3billion dollars, so maybe there’s something in it)?

Richard was gratifyingly blunt in Bristol, I’m hoping for much more of the same!

2 thoughts on “Richard Peirce: Cuddle Me, Kill Me”

  1. Ha ha, yes he is blunt, did you see his trailer whilst you were at #TEAMEARTH ? The film, from what I saw goes far deeper than Blood Lions, so a great follow up. Richards books are also pretty blunt, the three I have read start off about true events around actual animals (Cuddle Me ~ Kill Me told the story of Obi & Oliver, two lions rescued from lion farming &, through being inspired by Richards book, I have volunteered with in the Western Cape with Obi & Oliver) He then gives the background, facts & figures to the subject, concise & to the point !! Can’t wait for his book on pangolins & the film, or your interview with him. Was great meeting both of you at # TEAMEARTH & really glad it bought you together to get the plight of these lions out there !! Thankyou Charlie ☺️☺️

    1. Hey Debbie. He’s certainly a very busy guy – and tells it like it is (thankfully, because I’m not really interested in sugar coating and unrealistic over-optimism it just doesn’t speak to me at all)! It was really good to have a proper chat with him last week. Not sure when I’ll start the edit – I’m up to my eyes with some really good stuff recorded at the site of the proposed Sizewell C at the moment – but I’ll get there asap. And like we all said at the event, you did a great thing putting it on and you just never, ever know what seeds were planted – and what might grow from it. Cheers

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