BERLIN—Humane Society International supports the announcement by Environment Minister Steffi Lemke to restrict the import of hunting trophies from protected animal species to Germany. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature Ethics Specialist Group recently called on the German government in a letter to end the practice of trophy hunting imports for ethical, ecological and legal reasons. This prompted 14 animal and species protection associations, including Humane Society International, to call again for a ban on the import of hunting trophies of protected species. Iconic wildlife expert and United Nations Messenger of Peace Jane Goodall also supported this call to action and spoke out against trophy hunting of protected species.
“The announcement by the German Environment Minister is an important signal also at the EU level for more animal and species protection,” said Ruud Tombrock, executive director of HSI/Europe. “The reaction of the hunting lobby to this paradigm shift is disappointing. It is significant that false myths that have been scientifically disproven are repeated by big game hunters.”
Prof. Klaus Bosselmann, chair emeritus of the Ethics Specialist Group of the IUCN World Commission on Environmental Law, who is one of the authors of the letter to Minister Lemke, reacted to the minister’s statement and said: “Trophy hunting unnecessarily threatens the survival and genetic integrity of protected species in the midst of the current crisis of the sixth mass species extinction. It is overdue that Germany, as the largest importer of hunting trophies in the EU, takes action. We congratulate the Environment Minister Steffi Lemke on this important step for a sustainable and ethical protection of species.”
Sylvie Kremerskothen Gleason, HSI in Germany’s country director, said: “Trophy hunting of protected species is done by a small group who does not want to give up privileges from colonial times. The fact is that the local population does not significantly benefit from trophy hunting and most of the money from the multi-million dollar business goes into the pockets of the hunting organizers. It is now important that the minister continues down this new path guided by scientific facts and ethical considerations. The trophy hunters’ transparent vote-baiting exposes their real interests in trophy hunting which benefits neither the species, the environment nor the local population.”
In 2021 Humane Society International launched its global campaign against the import of hunting trophies of protected species. Several European countries have already committed to stop the import of hunting trophies: France and the Netherlands have had import restrictions on certain hunting trophies since 2015 and 2016; the United Kingdom has committed to one of the strongest trophy import bans in the world; and Belgium, Italy, Poland, Spain and other countries are currently considering concrete legislative initiatives and resolutions against such imports.
The position that the German Environment Ministry has taken is in line with a political movement to end this cruel practice of killing animals for the sake of a trophy that threatens the survival of many wild species.
- Humane Society International/Europe’s report “Trophy Hunting by the Numbers: The European Union’s role in global trophy hunting” reveals the extent of Germany’s involvement in the global trophy hunting industry. Between 2014 and 2020, more than 5,400 trophies of internationally protected animals were imported into Germany. EU-wide, Germany ranks first with these imports. Viewed globally, Germany is the second largest importer of hunting trophies of protected species behind the United States.
- The Netherlands banned trophies of over 200 species in 2016.
- France banned imports of lion trophies in 2015.
- The United Kingdom has committed to one to one of the world’s strongest policies banning the import of hunting trophies of over 7,000 protected species.
- In Belgium, Italy, Poland, Spain and other countries, there are currently concrete legislative initiatives and resolutions against corresponding imports.
- According to a 2021 representative survey, an overwhelming majority of Germans (89%) oppose the import of hunting trophies.
Press contact: Eva-Maria Heinen, communications and PR manager in Italy and Germany, Humane Society International/Europe: firstname.lastname@example.org; +49 (0)160 94491788