I was pleased to support the Hunting Trophies Bill through its Remaining Stage in the House of Commons today.
I welcome the Bill to ban the import of hunting trophies from species of conservation concern, as I fundamentally oppose the cruel and outdated practice of trophy hunting. Many Luton South constituents have contacted me to outline how it represents a very positive step.
Tens of thousands of animals are killed each year purely for fun – just so someone can take a photo, cut off a body part and bring it home as a souvenir or trophy. We all know the catastrophic impact trophy hunting has had on animal populations – including elephants, lions, rhinos and giraffes.
Many of these species are already under huge pressure from manmade threats including loss of habitat, climate change, poaching and the illegal wildlife trade. Despite this, trophy hunting continues legally in many countries.
Yet, despite these dwindling numbers and increasing threats, trophy hunting continues legally in many countries.
While I recognise there are those who disapprove of this legislation, I must say that the UK has a right to decide what can be legally brought into the country through customs, and it’s clear that the overwhelming majority of the British public support a ban.
The UK government conducted an extensive public consultation into proposals to prohibit imports of hunting trophies. 44,000 individuals and organisations were consulted, including African governments and other stakeholders. Over 85% of those supported the ban on hunting trophies.
I would also like to note that there is vocal opposition to trophy hunting in countries where these hunts are prevalent.
We owe it to the world’s wildlife and the local communities who live alongside these animals, to ensure sustainable and humane conservation efforts.
Few people in local communities benefit from trophy hunting. The All Party Parliamentary Group on Banning Trophy Hunting’s brief explained how trophy hunting was banned in Botswana for both economic and conservation reasons.
Since the ban, Botswana found that there are many more jobs for locals, and positions which pay better and hire people all year round in nature tourism activities such as photographic safaris.
The ban led to populations of African elephants, that had been badly hit by both trophy hunting and poaching, to stabilise.
So, I attended today’s debate to affirm my support and represent my Luton South constituents’ views in favour of this Bill.