Britain, supposedly a land of animal lovers, is facilitating the boom in canned lion hunting by allowing South African safari canned hunt operators to present their businesses at the Great British Shooting Show in Birmingham next February which describes “the dark continent of Africa” as “the ultimate hunting safari experience”.
Canned hunting is nothing to do with safaris. It is the brutal, self-indulgent and cruel killing of lions in enclosures by (in this case) British people who pretend that they are big white hunters tracking down a lion as people did over 100 years ago.
Canned lion hunting is legal in South Africa. The lions are captive bred in farms in South Africa. They are reared to be killed by international hunters who pay thousands of pounds for the experience.
Supporters of canned lion hunting say that it helps conservation efforts by giving greater value to wildlife conservation and it brings in revenue to rural areas. Bollocks I say. It’s about making money and the thrill of killing and nothing else. Nobody ever talks about the acute immorality of the practice. Nobody talks about the pain caused to the animals. Surely it is time to stop this horrendous practice? Surely we can do better than that? It damages our relationship with wild species and animals generally.
These “safari firms” (South African businesses who make their money by killing lions) are capitalising on a rise in trophy hunting by British big-game hunters. This has been documented in a report by the Campaign to Ban Trophy Hunting. The report is based upon CITES data which has tracked a rise in souvenir animal trophies imported into Britain. These include lion trophies such as mounted heads and rugs. In 2007 there were four importations of lion hunt trophies and 10 years later there were 20.
“Britain is facilitating the booming canned lion hunting. It is already one of the main countries in terms of hunters who go to South Africa to shoot these guaranteed, cut-price trophies. It’s little wonder these companies are now targeting the British market.”Eduardo Goncalves, founder of Campaign to Ban Trophy Hunting.
Along with America, Russia and Germany, Britain is in the top tier of nations taking part in such trophy hunts.
Since the high-profile killing of Cecil the line in 2015 which was all over the Internet, lion trophies taken by British hunters have increased.
As I understand it, after Cecil the lion was shot and there was widespread revulsion, countries including Australia, France and the Netherlands immediately banned the importation of lion trophies. The UK government did not follow suit. They simply urged improvement in hunting practices.
Michael Gove, the environment secretary has said that the UK will not ban trophy imports at the moment citing a “delicate political balancing act”. He is not fit to be the environment secretary if he can say that.
This Wednesday, the explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes will address Parliament. He is calling for the government to ban the importation of hunting trophies.
“Trophy hunting is calculated cruelty. It is a crime against nature and should be a crime in law.”Sir Ranulph Fiennes