PREDATION MANAGEMENT FORUM (PMF)

STATEMENT OF INTENT

The Predation Management Forum (PMF) was established in July 2009 and provides a platform for liaison and coordination of activities of commodity organisations in the livestock and game ranching sectors, aimed at reducing losses incurred as a result of predation by means of ecologically and ethically acceptable methods which protect the biodiversity of South Africa.

BACKGROUND

  • Predation has become a major cause of financial losses in the livestock and game ranching industries in South Africa. These losses are well in excess of R1 billion per annum.
  • The rate of predation is increasing due to a series of contributing factors, with an associated increase in the financial impact on these industries as well as on food security.
  • The industries affected by this problem do not exist and function in a vacuum, and it has become clear that all strategies and actions to address the problem require testing against the rule of law in South Africa, also recognizing the common law principle of the right of individuals to protect livelihoods and assets such as livestock and game.
  • There is an increasing need to ensure that strategies developed to address the problem and strategies for the management of predation must be underpinned by sound, verifiable and testable science, performed by recognized R&D practitioners whose work must stand up to peer review.
  • There is a large body of evidence developing which is signalling the urgent need for education and training at all levels in the value chain to ensure an understanding of the problem, and for developing capacity to implement appropriate tactics to address the problem.
  • The media is becoming an increasingly popular vehicle for creating sensation and often for conveying ill-informed messages regarding this problem. This brings forward the urgent need for a coordinated and holistic approach to media relations to ensure that a balanced message is presented which is fair to all stakeholders.
  • There is an urgent need to effectively engage with government (e.g. DEA and DAFF) to assist in the creation of an enabling environment for farmers to follow their chosen profession taking into account the national requirements for biodiversity.
  • The fast developing nature of consumerism is such that there is a need to ensure that the overall strategies and activities of the PMF, in terms of issues such as animal welfare, are reflected in appropriately drafted and implemented Codes of Best Practice for the various sectors affected by this problem.

3. TERMS OF REFERENCE OF THE PMF

3.1    To develop a national policy and guidelines for a coordinated approach by the livestock and game industries in South Africa for the management of predation affecting the profitability of these sectors.

3.2    To provide a platform to develop an inclusive and representative communication strategy for interaction with government (national and provincial) as and when required and appropriate.

3.3    To act as a representative body for the establishment of a coordinated approach for communication with on-farm predation management practitioners in the livestock and game farming industries.

3.4    To act as a coordinating body for the establishment of a coordinated approach for communication with consumers, consumer organisations and retail to counteract negative perceptions based on a lack of information or misinformation.

3.5    To act as a facilitation mechanism to remove obstacles which prevent the effective protection of livestock and game farming assets.

3.6    To develop strategies for training and for credible and ethical R&D, and the securing of funding for these strategies.

4. COMPOSITION AND MEETINGS OF THE PMF

4.1    All commodity organisations and/or producer associations representing the livestock and game farming industries which are affected by predation, are by default members of the PMF.

4.2    From all industries or industry organisations indicating their participation or their intention to participate in the activities of the Forum, a Steering Committee shall be constituted comprising at least one representative from each industry.

4.3    The Steering Committee shall from its members elect/nominate a chairman to serve a term to be fixed by mutual consent between the members of the Committee.

4.4    The secretariat of the PMF (and, by default, the Steering Committee) shall reside with the industry organisation which the chairman represents.

4.5    The PMF shall meet at least once per year at a venue and at a time to be communicated to all members at least 30 days prior to such a meeting.

4.6    The Steering Committee shall meet at least quarterly to deal with matters too urgent to postpone to a full PMF meeting.

4.7    All costs incurred in attending to the business of the PFM or the Steering Committee shall be for own account.

POLICY STATEMENTS AND GUIDELINES FOR THE FDCA

5.1    The PMF endorses an approach which is scientifically based, biologically sound, environmentally safe and socially responsible.

5.2    The PMF recognises that conflict with predators is an inherent risk for farmers whose core business is livestock or game ranching. Management of losses caused by predators is part of farmers’ and ranchers’ production process, the primary responsibility which rests with the landowner or user.

5.3    The PMF acknowledges that the responsibility of government is the interest of the community as a whole. However, government has the responsibility to ensure that its mandate to maintain an overarching enabling environment in terms of legislation does not translate to discrimination against one or more sectors within the community.

5.4    The PMF subscribes to the core principle that the purpose of targeted predation management is the cost-effective reduction of losses, and not the eradication of species.

5.5    The PMF endorses all actions aimed at building an image for farmers and ranchers as responsible people who care for the biodiversity of South Africa and the environment in general.

5.6    The PMF’s agreed philosophy for an effective predation management system is based on a simple, three-pronged approach, viz:

  • The adaptation of farm management practices to avoid losses.
  • The repulsion or control of predators.
  • The capture, documentation and promotion of Best Practice by means of sector-specific Codes appropriate for each sector and biosystem in which livestock or game farming enterprises are located.