LONDON (13th Sept. 2023)— Cross-party MPs and Peers, alongside campaigners from the Coalition Against Trophy & Canned Hunting (CATCH) including animal protection organisations Humane Society International/UK and FOUR PAWS UK, gathered outside Parliament with a giant inflatable lion and giraffe to show their support for the Hunting Trophies (Import Prohibition) Bill. The politicians and campaigners came together near Old Palace Yard in Westminster to implore the Government to find the necessary time to allow the Bill - a manifesto commitment - to complete its passage into law and protect the tragic victims of trophy hunting.
Over 30 MPs and Peers — including Henry Smith MP, Emily Thornberry MP, Ruth Jones MP, Baroness Natalie Bennett and Baroness Cathy Bakewell — were in attendance at the event, which comes after the Bill’s Committee Stage in the House of Lords last night (12th September). During the debate, a small group of pro-hunting Peers attempted to kill the Bill by running down time, having tabled over 60 amendments. With a limited number of sitting days until the end of this Parliamentary session, there is now a serious risk that there will be insufficient time for the Bill to complete its remaining stages.
Claire Bass, senior director of campaigns and public affairs at Humane Society International/UK, said: “We’ve returned to Parliament today to demonstrate the huge strength of support the Bill has from both cross-party MPs and Peers, and the British public – over 80% of whom back the ban. It’s deeply frustrating that a handful of the Government’s own backbench Peers attempted to gun down the Bill last night with an onslaught of time-wasting amendments. Armed with giant inflatable wildlife, we are calling on the Government not to let animals or the public down, and urgently bring the Bill back to the Lords to deliver the promised hunting trophy import ban.”
"Today's strong turnout from over 30 MPs and Peers reaffirms the widespread support the Trophy Hunting (Import Prohibition) Bill has from across the political parties."
Sonul Badiani-Hamment, Country Director at FOUR PAWS UK
The purposeful filibustering by a handful of backbencher Peers means that time is running out to discuss the Bill and their myriad of 64 tabled amendments. This is a wasteful course of action, wilfully taken to prevent the Bill from becoming law.
United with elected MPs, who reflect the wishes of the voting public, we urge the Government to immediately make more time for the Bill and to continue pushing it through; they have the will of the nation and Parliament behind them.”
Adam Cruise, acting CEO of the Campaign to Ban Trophy Hunting, said: “As someone who has been in the field for almost two decades, the claim that trophy hunting benefits conservation and community livelihoods is false. The clear evidence on the ground is one of widespread decline of species and increasing levels of poverty throughout Southern Africa. Decades of trophy hunting not only has failed to improve the situation but has made it considerably worse.”
Conservative Peer Baroness Fookes led the Bill’s Committee Stage, in which five amendments were discussed. Two votes were called, which were both lost in the Government’s favour.
- A YouGov poll carried out in December 2021 found that 82% of the British public think importing animal body parts as hunting trophies should be made illegal.
- In recent years, UK trophy hunters have imported trophies from some of the world’s rarest species, including polar bears, rhinos, African elephants and leopards.
- Since trophy hunting rose to prominence in the colonial era, there have been catastrophic declines in populations of some of the world’s most iconic species - including elephants, lions, rhinos and giraffes - many of which are under increasing pressure from loss of habitat, climate breakdown, poaching and the illegal wildlife trade.
- The Hunting Trophies (Import Prohibition) Bill, which passed its Third Reading in the House of Commons on 17th March 2023, would prohibit hunting trophies of animal species listed with the highest level of protection in Annex A or B of the Control of Trade in Endangered Species Regulations (2018) from being imported into the UK.