In June 2022, I introduced the Hunting Trophies (Import Prohibition) Bill, which sought to ban British hunters from bringing body part ‘trophies’ of endangered and vulnerable animals into Great Britain.
I am very much aware that at the last General Election, I stood on a manifesto committing to ‘bring the ivory ban into force and extend it to cover other ivory-bearing species, and ban imports from trophy hunting of endangered animals.’ I continue to work with the Government and organisations including the Campaign to Ban Trophy Hunting and the Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation to make this a reality.
By ending imports, we can send a strong message to the rest of the world that we do not tolerate the needless killing of rhinos, lions, elephants, and other species like polar bears in the name of ‘sport’.
The evidence is clear across the globe that our global wildlife is in danger. In fact, over the last half a century we have seen around a 60 per cent decline in global wildlife. Every year more animal species are threatened with extinction, and we must ensure that the UK plays no part in this deterioration. By enforcing a strict ban on trophy hunting imports, the UK can lead the way in supporting the conservation of endangered species, and protect wildlife overseas.
The Bill passed second reading in the House of Commons in November 2022, and successfully completed its committee stage in January 2023; I was delighted that on 17th March it unanimously secured Commons third reading. I was grateful for the Minister for Natural Environment & Land Use, Trudy Harrison, reiterating the support of the Government for my Bill from the Commons despatch box.
On 16th June, the Bill passed second reading in the House of Lords, with committee stage commencing on 12th September.
At the prorogation of Parliament on 26th October, this Bill formally ran out of parliamentary time and fell. This was as a result of delaying tactics from a small number of Peers intent on blocking the progress of this legislation.
I have now led a group of over 60 parliamentarians in an open letter to the Prime Minister, calling on the Government to enact the 2019 Conservative Party manifesto commitment to ban trophy hunting imports.
This will need to be introduced as a Government bill and I call on the Prime Minister to ensure our manifesto pledge is kept.
I am grateful to the Crawley residents who continue to contact me in support of this and other measures to enhance animal welfare measures.
My late colleague, Sir David Amess, campaigned on this issue tirelessly, indeed it was the last matter he raised in Parliament before his brutal murder. His dedication to this cause is very much in my mind when I speak on this important subject.