Trophy hunting imports to Britain would be banned if a proposed crackdown goes ahead. Tory MP Henry Smith’s Hunting Trophies (Import Prohibition) Bill is due to be debated for its second reading in the Commons tomorrow.
The Bill would ban the import of body parts of endangered animals killed overseas.
Writing for the Express, the Crawley MP said: “Enough is enough. We’re a nation of animal lovers and I’m determined to help put an end to this evil trade.
“That’s why I’m bringing a Bill to Parliament that will stop British trophy hunters bringing their sick souvenirs back into this country.”
Eduardo Goncalves, founder of the Campaign to Ban Trophy Hunting, said: “Henry Smith MP’s Bill has the support of voters, experts, African leaders and wildlife charities.
“It has the backing of the Government and opposition parties. I strongly urge MPs to come to the chamber and help make history.
“Trophy hunting isn’t just an American problem. British trophy hunters are among the world’s leading killers of elephants and lions.
“They have been shooting some of the most threatened species on the planet including polar bears, cheetahs and black rhinos. British companies are today selling trophy hunting ‘holidays’.
“This has to stop. Trophy hunting is cruel and contrary to British civilised values. It is fuelling the conservation crisis. Britain will be leading the way internationally in making this ban law.”
Every year, British hunters pay thousands of pounds to legally shoot animals such as lions and elephants abroad before bringing trophies back to the UK.
A YouGov poll last year of 2,000 British adults showed 82 percent back a ban on trophy hunting imports.
And the move was backed by 86 percent of 44,000 responses to a Government consultation.
But some supporters of trophy hunting claim it can provide revenue for conservation.
A clampdown was promised in the 2019 Tory manifesto. Mr Smith’s Bill is being supported by the Government and cross-party MPs.
It comes seven years after the killing of Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe by American dentist Walter Palmer sparked widespread outrage.
Comment by Henry Smith
The world was horrified when American dentist Walter Palmer shot Cecil the lion in 2015, but it left us thinking that only Americans commit these atrocities, how wrong we were.
It turns out British trophy hunters fly to Africa every year to shoot lions.
Many of the poor animals have been bred in captivity. They are tame animals who will be shot in enclosures they can’t escape from. How cowardly is that?
It gets worse though, British trophy hunters love shooting elephants too, it’s their favourite animal, according to official records. They shoot them for their tusks; their skins.
Hardly a day goes by without a new story about how the world’s wildlife is under increasing threat.
So imagine my shock when I found out that British trophy hunters are shooting polar bears – an animal at risk of extinction.
Like many Express readers, I have enjoyed the wonderful wildlife TV documentaries of incredible animals like cheetahs.
Imagine my utter horror, then, to discover that British trophy hunters are shooting these incredible big cats.
There are even British-owned companies that sell trophy hunting holidays where you can go and shoot cheetahs, for fun!
Enough is enough. We’re a nation of animal lovers and I’m determined to help put an end to this evil trade.
That’s why I’m bringing a Bill to Parliament that will stop British trophy hunters bringing their sick souvenirs back into this country.
It’s a Bill that enjoys the support of 9 out of 10 voters; it’s backed by wildlife charities and I’m delighted that it is supported by both the Government and opposition parties.
This is an issue that has nothing to do with party politics; it has everything to do with basic British values of decency, fairness, and respect for our natural world.
But the hunting and gun lobby are rich and powerful, they want to defend so-called “hunters’ rights”.
So it is up to you – to all of us – to stand up to them and to stand up for voiceless animals. Please ask your MP to get behind my Bill – and help make trophy hunting history.