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UK Moves Closer to Banning Trophy Hunting Imports

27 Mar 2024

MPs voted unanimously in the bill's favour

The ban on hunting trophy imports has moved ever closer after MPs voted in its favour. Following a speech by Crawley MP Henry Smith last week, a unanimous decision was made in its support. This is the second time the bill has been approved by conservative MPs; it was also backed last year but fell through after being blocked by a few members of the House of Lords, who debated until time ran out.

Controversy over trophy hunting reached its peak back in 2015 after the death of Cecil the lion made headlines. Cecil was killed by an American trophy hunter while being studied and tracked by a research team at the University of Oxford.

The original argument against the import ban was that it was a knee-jerk reaction to Cecil’s death, and that MPs should be wary of endangering African livelihoods and imposing their will on other countries. Tory opponent Sir Bill Wiggin, President of the Association of Professional Shooting Instructors, argued that trophy hunting was ‘vital for the local population’, and was a ‘wildlife conservation measure that generates income used to combat illegal poaching’.

However, Edith Kebesiime of World Animal Protection Africa, thought otherwise.

‘African people do not support trophy hunting,’ she countered. ‘Most money from these hunts does not reach local communities. It is nothing but an opportunity for a cruel and wealthy few to inflict pain and suffering on our native wildlife for their own enjoyment.’

Smith supported her statement.

‘The idea that killing an endangered species saves an endangered species is just absurd and should be called out for what it is,’ he stated, reminding people that the bill was a piece of import legislation and not an attempt to impose the UK’s will on other countries. ‘This is not a natural practice of people in Southern Africa. It is a neo-colonial import that was brought to that continent during the time of colonisation. I could speak with passion on this principle for hours, but I am conscious of parliamentary procedure, and I do not want to detain the Bill’s passage any further.’

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