Henry Smith MP will lead a special House of Commons committee to oversee the Bill he has introduced which could introduce the world’s toughest ban on hunting trophies.
The Crawley MP’s Hunting Trophies (Import Prohibition) Bill proposes to ban British trophy hunters from bringing back body parts of threatened species from Africa and other parts of the world. It will be debated by the cross-party Public Bill Committee of MPs on Wednesday 25th January.
Since 1980, British hunters have brought home approximately 5,000 trophies of species listed as endangered by CITES, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species. The most popular African animals shot by British hunters are elephants, hippos, leopards, zebras and lions. Other animals include polar bears, cheetahs, and the critically endangered black rhino.
“I’m pleased to be leading the Public Bill Committee for this important legislation. My Hunting Trophies (Import Prohibition) Bill will ban British hunters from bringing ‘trophies’ of endangered and vulnerable animals into Britain.
“I’m looking forward to playing my part in securing enhanced protections for animals in danger.
“This Bill will be an effective deterrent against those seeking to cause pain and suffering to animals.”
Experts say elephant numbers have fallen from 3 million a century ago to just 400,000. Lion populations have crashed from 200,000 in the 1970s to between 10,000 to 20,000. Scientists say trophy hunting is partly to blame.
An opinion poll shows 86 per cent of voters agree with a ban – only 2 per cent expressed opposition. The Bill has been welcomed by scientists, conservation groups and African politicians too.
Dr Hans Bauer of Oxford University’s Wildlife Conservation Research Unit led the IUCN’s recent assessment of lion populations.
Dr Bauer said;
“Trophy hunting is linked to declining numbers of lions throughout its range. Trophy hunting is standing in the way of progress because a small white elite, together with their clients, have exclusive access to the land.”
Professor Phyllis Lee, Director of Science for the Amboseli Trust for Elephants and a member of the House of Lords Elephant Welfare Group, added;
“Elephants are declining too rapidly to be able to sustain themselves. They will potentially become extinct within 50 years. The proposed Bill will help all threatened species. It will show the world the UK is taking action against a barbaric practice.”
Ian Khama, President of Botswana from 2008 to 2018 – who banned all trophy hunting in his country – has also given the Bill his blessing.
President Khama said;
“The ban I introduced worked. By the time I left office, Botswana had twice as many elephants as any other African country. We had one-third of all Africa’s elephants. And it meant we were playing our part in preserving our planet. To kill an animal for a ‘trophy’ is immoral. It is completely alien to African culture and traditions.”
Notes to Editors
- Over 2,000 voters were asked by Survation: “To what extent do you agree or disagree with the following statement? ‘The UK Government should ban trophy hunters from bringing back trophies of hunted animals as soon as possible’. In response, 86 per cent said they agreed with only 2 per cent expressing opposition. Survation sampled 2,050 UK residents aged 18 and over between 17th – 21st February, 2022.
- Source for August 2022 IPSOS poll showing South African opposition to trophy hunting: https://www.hsi.org/news-media/new-ipsos-survey-reveals-the-majority-68-of-south-africans-oppose-trophy-hunting-2/
- IUCN: International Union for the Conservation of Nature. IUCN’s Red List of Threatened Species: www.iucnredlist.org