Many Africans believe proposed British ban on importation of hunting trophies is racist and an example of neo-colonialism

Many Africans believe proposed British ban on importation of hunting trophies is racist and an example of neo-colonialism
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NEWS AND COMMENT: The UK Parliament is struggling to pass the Hunting Trophies (Import Prohibition) Bill which will ban the importation of hunting trophies from Africa and other countries. The unelected Lords have effectively blocked it. They’ve probably been lobbied by the rich hunters. There may be some trophy hunters among them.

But a new aspect of the introduction of this law has popped up in Africa. Forty-one per cent of Africans living in Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe don’t want the law to be introduced. A poll commissioned by the London-based PR firm Abzed and conducted by Appinio, found that 41% of people in the area I’ve mapped out above thought the proposed British ban was racist. Thirty-eight percent said it was not. In Botswana support for hunting is at its strongest where 57% of the inhabitants said that they had too many elephants.

The bill has stalled in Parliament and high-profile celebrities such as Dame Joanna Lumley and Ricky Gervais have accused the Prime Minister of reneging on a manifesto promise to ban the importation of trophies from hunting expeditions. The legislation was passed through the House of Commons by MPs but as mentioned it has stalled in the House of Lords.

The president of Botswana, Masisi, said that the ban is “a racist onslaught…when people sit in the comfort of where they are and lecture us about the management of species they don’t have.”

RELATED: British celebrities challenge Rishi Sunak to push through legislation banning the importation of hunting trophies

The problem appears to be this: the people living in these countries say that big, iconic wildlife species are a problem. They are a deadly danger according to 63% of the inhabitants. Of this 63%, 18% said that a family member or a friend had been attacked by big animals. I guess they want them out of the way. Understandable in many ways. It seems that the world want Africa to be a wildlife reserve while Africans have to earn a living surrounded by big animals.

And the old adage has come out that money from expensive licences to kill iconic species in these countries helps to fund conservation of the species. It funds antipoaching measures.

Six African nations also said that British promises of increasing aid to cover the losses from these hunting licences is tantamount to a “beggar-like dependency on aid”. They don’t like it.

Comment: I am convinced that this is another attempt by the hunting lobby to get their way and have this bill stopped in its tracks. There is a huge amount of vested interest in sport hunting and invariably it is the rich who do it and they have the means and money to organise these kinds of campaigns to undermine the passage of the bill.

But there is a big issue here. For those living with the animals their attitude is coloured by practical matters while Westerners see Africa as a place where iconic species happen to live and where they need to be protected for the world.

The other issue is that trophy hunting is plain cruel! Mustn’t forget that. Humans getting a kick from causing extreme pain in an animal is morally unjustifiable.

RELATED: Trophy hunters can select the lion that they want to kill from a brochure

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