Good afternoon everyone,
From past updates, you will know that the Trophy Hunting (Import Prohibition) Bill has been making its way through the UK Parliament, hopefully on the way to enactment. It has already passed through the House of Commons and is supported by the UK Government. On Friday the 16th June, this Bill has its second reading in the House of Lords.
This Bill to sensibly ban import of hunting trophies from species on international lists of endangered and vulnerable species has received considerable and rather unreasonable headwinds.
It is puzzling to note the amount of negative lobbying activity around Parliament and the House of Lords for what should be a rather straightforward Bill. The Bill was mentioned in several Tory Party manifestos and a Queen’s Speech. In addition, the UK public and organizations were invited to give their views on the matter via a Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs call for “evidence”. The input ended on 25 February, 2020. Perhaps because of COVID the results were slow in being published. Eventually, it was acknowledged that about 90% of the UK public were opposed to further imports of hunting trophies. The Bill advanced through Parliament with hardly a mutter of opposition by Members, and has now passed through the second “reading” in the House of Lords.
British trophy hunters import hardly any numbers of trophies of anything compared to nations like Germany, Spain, USA, Mexico, Hungary, Poland, Russia, etc. We ask again, given the small level of trophy hunting imports, why all this circus of African community delegates, UK ambassadors and high commissioners from African trophy hunting nations, influenced academics, trophy hunting organizations, and many letters and interviews being published in the media to attempt to influence parliamentarians and Lords NOT to back the Bill?????
For example a letter published in a major UK newspaper and signed by a bunch of scientists and African community members. The letter starts out –
“The UK Government’s proposed ban on the import (and export?) of hunting trophies is poorly conceived and unlikely to deliver any of its claimed conservation benefits. Instead, it threatens to reverse many conservation gains while undermining the livelihoods, rights and autonomy of rural communities across sub-Saharan Africa and beyond.” The letter then admits - “This is not to claim that trophy hunting is perfect. It is beset with a variety of problems, including but not limited to the inequitable sharing of hunting revenues, inappropriate or poorly observed quotas, corruption and inadequate regulation. But tourism is not a perfect industry either. And sadly, the UK’s trophy import ban, as currently proposed, will do little or nothing to address these problems where they occur, targeting good and bad hunting operators alike, alienating those communities who generate revenues from well-managed sustainable hunting, and exposing the UK to accusations of hypocrisy.”
We have a problem understanding this drivel. So trophy hunting is beset with problems but (as an irrelevant whataboutism) so is the tourism industry? And why is the UK proposed Bill supposed to address problems within the trophy hunting industry?
The Bill just proposes categories of species’ hunting trophies the UK is not wanting to import. Just like Australia and France banned lion trophy imports and the Netherlands banned the import of trophies from over 200 species. Belgium and Finland are also considering trophy import restrictions.
Is the pro-hunting lobby just looking for attention in the UK? Funded by organizations like Safari Club International?
As usual, LionAid has been significantly involved in providing no-nonsense information to Members of Parliament and members of the House of Lords, and we were delighted to see that this information was used in recent debates on the issue in both chambers. LionAid is confident that this Bill will soon become law and implemented to prevent the (rather few) hunting trophies from a list of endangered and vulnerable species from entering the UK. And that all those attempting to influence the vote with no substantial information go home and consider what on earth motivated their actions.
The Lords passed their second reading of the Bill and it now goes to a Committee stage where changes could be considered.
Those in the debate in the House of Lords speaking in support of the Bill: Baroness Fookes, Baroness Jones of Whitchurch, Baroness Twycross, Lord Mann, Lord Selkirk of Douglas, Baroness Sanderson of Welton, Lord Rennard, Baroness Hayman of Ullock, The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs - Lord Benyon. Total – 9.
Speaking against the Bill: Lord St John of Bletso (trustee of the Tusk Trust), Lord Bellingham, Earl of Erroll, Lord Lilley, Lord Swire, Lord Remnant, Viscount Trenchard, Lord Lucas, Lord Reay, Lord Hamilton of Epsom, Lord Hannan of Kingsclere, Lord Mancroft, Lord Howard of Rising, Earl of Caithness. Total – 14.
We attach an appendix link for your interest with select comments by members of the House of Lords, some make interesting reading like those made by Lord Lucas who said “We are hunters, and that which is expressed as pleasure by trophy hunters is in most of us. We ought to recognise that; they are not something apart but an expression of one aspect of humanity.” If you have the time, the speeches are worth reading…
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