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Meeting with Michael Gove which we attended this week
Friday 17th May 2019
We participated in a meeting on Wednesday the 15th May 2019 with the UK Secretary of State for Environment,Food and Rural Affairs, Michael Gove to discuss banning the import of hunting trophies into the UK. There were 25 people round the table, representing NGO's and Government organisations on both sides of the debate.
It was quite a heated meeting with frank views expressed on both sides. On our side of the argument, there was Dr. Pieter Kat and Christine Macsween from LionAid, Will Travers from Born Free, Eduardo and Siobhan from the Campaign to Ban Trophy Hunting and Mary Rice from the Environmental Investigation Agency. There was also a great guy from the Endangered Species Protection Agency.
There were few points of agreement during this meeting but one of them was the issue around canned lion trophy hunting. In a rare display of unity, we were joined by the DG of CIC (the leading European Trophy Hunting Organisation) and the UK representative of the SCI (Safari Club International) to condemn the practice of canned lion hunting.
As yet, Michael Gove has NOT made any decision on this issue even though he had previously met with Lord Ashcroft who also urged a ban to be put in place.
We also obviously discussed the issue of wild lion hunting and Pieter and I made some significant interventions during the meeting. These were met with dismay by the SCI representative but David Macdonald from Oxford University at least acknowledged that his report on the “benefits” of lion trophy hunting contained caveats of “hoped for” improvements in hunting practices that have not materialised in the past 24 years.
Mr Gove intimated that this was likely to be the first of several such meetings which we welcome.
In the meantime, we all hope he will reflect on at least the canned lion hunting issue and bring in a much needed ban on their trophy imports.
Rest assured, we are on the case to make sure that lions, wild and canned, stay at the top of his agenda and we will continue to provide him with the evidence that shows the continuing disastrous declines in wild lion populations merit a ban on ALL lion trophy imports.
Later that afternoon, we attended the UK Parliament Adjournment Debate in Westminster Hall, asking the UK Government to ban hunting trophy imports. This was brought by Zac Goldsmith and we were absolutely delighted to see so many MPs turning up and speaking in support. In fact, ALL of the MPs present called for a ban.
Sadly, the Minister receiving the Debate, Dr Therese Coffey (who had also attended the morning meeting with Michael Gove) was not moved and after all the speeches by MPs present, read her pre-prepared speech along the lines of the latest House of Commons Briefing Paper which states that “the UK Government is not considering a ban” at this time.
Let's hope when she and Mr Gove have had time to reflect on all the facts presented on the 15th, we might see a much needed ban on the import of all lion trophies into the UK.
Watch the afternoon Adjournment Debate here.
Add a comment | Posted by Chris Macsween at 13:51