LONDON—A small number of Peers have been criticised by animal protection organisation Humane Society International/UK for attempting to wreck the Hunting Trophies (Import Prohibition) Bill at its Committee Stage in the House of Lords. Peers including Lord Mancroft and the Earl of Caithness tabled over 60 amendments, refused to group them in an apparent attempt to frustrate the debate, and subjected the House to lengthy speeches in defence of trophy hunting.
On the same side of the House, Minister Benyon and Lords sponsor Baroness Fookes delivered strong rebuttals against attempts to wreck the Bill.
Claire Bass, senior director of campaigns and public affairs at Humane Society International/UK, said: “It is exasperating that a small group of pro-hunting Peers has tried to hijack this hugely popular Bill that would deliver a Conservative manifesto commitment to ban hunting trophy imports. A UK ban on importing these sick souvenirs has the backing of the Government, the Commons and over 80% of the British public. Tonight’s Lords debate saw some shameful and undignified accusations levelled at both the Government and opposition benches, amidst an onslaught of time-wasting amendments. The Government must keep its resolve and bring this Bill back to the Lords urgently to deliver the promised hunting trophy import ban.”
Baroness Fookes led the debate, in which Peers began to discuss each of the 64 amendments tabled, running down the time for the Bill’s Committee Stage. Two votes were called, which were both lost in the Government’s favour.
The Bill, which passed its Third Reading in the House of Commons on 17th March 2023, would prohibit hunting trophies of animal species listed with the highest level of protection in Annex A or B of the Control of Trade in Endangered Species Regulations (2018) from being imported into the UK. With a very limited number of sitting days until the Parliamentary session ends, HSI/UK is now urging the Government to schedule a second Committee sitting for the Bill next Monday, to avoid it running out of time.
Media contact: Sally Ivens, senior media manager, HSI/UK: firstname.lastname@example.org; 07590 559299
- A YouGov poll carried out in December 2021 found that 82% of the British public think importing animal body parts as hunting trophies should be made illegal.
- In recent years, UK trophy hunters have imported trophies from some of the world’s rarest species, including polar bears, rhinos, African elephants and leopards.
- Since trophy hunting rose to prominence in the colonial era, there have been catastrophic declines in populations of some of the world’s most iconic species – including elephants, lions, rhinos and giraffes – many of which are under increasing pressure from loss of habitat, climate breakdown, poaching and the illegal wildlife trade.
- In June 2023, a group of 103 wildlife conservation experts, scientists, government officials and community leaders who live and work in countries throughout Africa sent an open letter to Members of the House of Lords urging them to support the bill to ban the import of hunting trophies.