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April 29, 2016

Netherlands Applauded for Introducing EU's Strictest Ban on Trophy Hunting Imports

African lion, African elephant, Southern white rhino, cheetah, leopard, hippo, polar bear among 200 species banned.

Humane Society International/Europe

  • Lion cub. African People and Wildlife Fund

In a letter to the Dutch Parliament, Martijn van Dam, State Secretary for Economic Affairs, has announced his decision to ban the import of hunting trophies from approximately 200 species to the Netherlands. The European Union is the second largest trophy importer in the world, following the United States, and this now means the Netherlands has the most comprehensive trophy import ban in the EU.

This action was taken partly in response to a resolution adopted by the parliament last year calling for the government to curtail imports of hunting trophies. Humane Society International/Europe’s executive director, Joanna Swabe, issued the following statement:

“Humane Society International/Europe applauds State Secretary van Dam for demonstrating global leadership in wildlife protection by taking the most comprehensive measures so far to stop the import of hunting trophies. Every year, trophy hunters recreationally slaughter hundreds of thousands of wild animals, representing hundreds of species. Trophy hunters seek some of the world’s most endangered species including, for example, the critically endangered black rhino and vulnerable species like the African elephant, African lion, cheetah, and hippopotamus. Trophy hunters compete with one another in gruesome killing contests, and their thirst for blood is fueled by endless awards and accolades for the kills.”

Help stop trophy hunting.

The European Union is the second largest trophy importer, following the United States. Last year, France made a bold decision to prohibit imports of African lion trophies and we are encouraged that the Netherlands is taking even stronger measures to protect the world’s most iconic and often most threatened species. HSI/Europe strongly encourages other EU Member States to follow the Netherlands’ example and to implement similar restrictions on imports of wildlife trophies. We therefore also welcome the Dutch State Secretary’s commitment in his letter to the Parliament to push for EU action on trophy hunting imports. 


  • Between 2012-2015, the Dutch authorities received 27 applications for permits to import hunting trophies, concerning lions, bears, elephants, panthers, diverse goat species, diverse primate species, wolves, lynx and other felines. Authorities rejected 17 of these applications. The ban will be enacted via the refusal to grant import permits for new trophy hunting imports.
  • The European Union has put forward a draft Resolution to tighten up international rules with respect to hunting trophies. The Netherlands currently holds the Presidency of the European Union. State Secretary Van Dam has also publicly committed to pushing for the adoption of this resolution at the CITES Conference of Parties meeting in September 2016.
  • The ban includes the following species: African lion, African elephant, Southern white rhino, cheetah, leopard, hippopotamus, argali sheep and the polar bear.

Media contact: Wendy Higgins, whiggins@hsi.org, +44(0)7989 972 423

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