A report by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) in 2016 found that at least 1.7 million animal ‘trophies’ were traded between countries over the previous decade. Of this number, 200,000 trophies were from threatened species.
Killing animals to display their heads, horns, antlers or hides as ‘trophies’ is cruel and unjustifiable. It only helps push endangered wildlife closer to extinction. That is why I support ending the import of wild animal trophies from threatened species.
Currently, the import of hunting trophies is legal as long as the animal is licensed under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). However, the trade is exacerbating the decline of threatened species and causes unnecessary suffering to animals. It is often used as a cover for illegal poaching as traffickers pass off illegal wildlife products as legal.
The UK Government held a consultation on options to restrict the import and export of hunting trophies into the UK, including a potential ban. It invited views from the public and experts and it will inform any next steps taken on this issue. The consultation closed on 25 February 2020. The Government says there has been a delay in publishing the summary of responses to the consultation due to the coronavirus pandemic and that it will do so as soon as is practical.
I believe that the Government should take action to address trophy hunting, and that any ban should cover all species above ‘least concern’ on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species. This would include species classed as vulnerable, endangered, critically endangered and extinct in the wild.
Thank you once again for contacting me and sharing your views. I can assure you that I will follow developments on this issue closely and continue to press for a ban on imports of hunting trophies.