Blood Lions Panel at the European Parliament
We are writing this from Brussels where we have been involved in a series of meetings and presentations, all focused on applying pressure to bring about a ban on the importation of lion trophies into the EU.
On Monday, we met with the Belgian CITES Management Authority and had a frank discussion on how CITES need to urgently make improvements in order to better protect wildlife from the excesses of trade.
Later that Monday, we met with the Eurogroup for Animals and other NGOs in preparation for a meeting with the European Commission's Scientific Review Group (SRG) the following day.
We applaud such collaboration between NGOs and there was a very constructive exchange of views as to how we can bring pressure to bear on the SRG to be more transparent and to adopt the precautionary principle and not allow lion trophies to be imported into the EU where there is a clear lack of scientific data to support any notion of sustainability.
Tuesday we met with the SRG and made our position clear and brought pressure to bear on them to re-visit the decisions to allow lion trophies in from Tanzania, Zambia and Mozambique.
We also questioned the type of information and data that the SRG uses to make their sometimes surprising decisions on allowing imports and requested much greater transparency and the possibility to review the data used in their decision making. Much of the data currently used consists of unpublished “reports” from the range States that are not independently verified for accuracy.
We also requested that when there is a paucity of current data or verifiable data, that the SRG should by default make a “negative opinion” (import moratorium) until much better information is available.
Tuesday evening was the EU Parliament Premiere of Blood Lions and LionAid were proud to be included on the Panel for the debate following the screening. The picture on the left is LionAid's Dr. Pieter Kat with Ian Michler (Blood Lions) and Gael de Rotalier (from the European Commission).
There was a lot of interest from the floor and real shock, even from a hunter present, at the harsh realities of the canned hunting industry.
Today we chaired a meeting with MEPs to discuss how they can better support the drive to ban the importation of lion trophies into the EU.
Tomorrow we come back to the UK and continue with the preparation for the Adjournment Debate we have secured on lions in the UK Parliament next Tuesday....but that is another blog we will write shortly.