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

NEWS AND OPINION: Rishi Sunak is reneging on his promise to ban the importation of sport hunting trophies, usually from Africa and often from South Africa where there’s lots of canned hunting. This is when the organisers put lions (and other animals) into a fenced compound and allow rich businessmen to shoot them dead the fun of it. They then cut off a piece of the lion’s anatomy and take it home. That is currently legal in the UK and in most other countries if not all of them.

Trophy hunter Walter Palmer kicked off the desire to ban the importation of hunting trophies into GB. Image: MikeB

The death of the popular and celebrated lion, Cecil, killed by the sport hunter Walter Palmer, a Minnesotan dentist, led the Conservatives and Labour to pledge a ban on trophy imports to the UK.

The UK government has pledged to introduce a bill banning trophy imports in no fewer than four Queen’s speeches but it has not happened.

The latest attempt is the Hunting Trophies (Import Prohibition) Bill which was introduced as a private member’s bill tabled by Henry Smith, the MP for Crawley. That’s the legislation which should be passing through Parliament or it should be law by now.

But in the House of Lords there is a bunch of sliver-haired white elderly Anglo-Saxon trophy hunting advocates who support this cruel and barbaric practice and they filibustered the legislation into a black hole.

Canned lion hunt
Canned lion hunt. Millionaire Banker, Tory Advisor and member and supporter of Countryside Alliance Sir David Scholey and his trophy lion kill. Disgusting.

It needs to be resurrected. And the only way this can happen is if Parliament allocates more time to debate it. That task falls upon The Department of Environmental Food and Rural Affairs which said that they were disappointed with the outcome and are doing all they can to bring this legislation forward. Do animal advocates believe that?!

Referring to the bill which has become stuck in parliament, Sir Ranulph Fiennes, Peter Egan, Ricky Gervais and Joanna Lumley told Sunak: “You have not, we are sorry to say, lived up to your words. You have grenade on your words.”

They added that:

“This is a bill that was unanimously passed by elected MPs at every stage of the bill in the House Of Commons. On reaching the House Of Lords it was the only private member’s bill not to have been given adequate time for its progress before parliamentary prorogation, and when it did, it was filibustered into oblivion by a few unelected pro-hunting Conservative peers.”

Of the 44,000 people who responded to a government consultation on the policy to ban the importation of trophies, 86% backed it, the group of celebrities noted.

The animal loving celebrities say that Sunak is not uniting the country and is going against the will of the country. They argue that Sunak’s government lacks integrity in breaking its promise.

In their letter to Rishi Sunak, they wrote that:

“Britain’s are a nation of animal lovers, and trophy hunting is a cruel, barbaric and outdated practice.

A stuffed lion head on a wall somewhere that was once a trophy and ended up being for sale online
A stuffed lion head on a wall somewhere that was once a trophy and ended up being for sale online. Image in the public domain.

Comment: I am very disappointed and saddened by this government’s lack of will to ensure that this bill passes and becomes law. It does indeed show a lack of integrity and desire to do the right thing. Sunak will probably argue that the government is too embroiled in dealing with more pressing matters such as inflation, the cost of living problems and servicing their massive bill of interest payments on the huge £400 billion loan they acquired during Covid-19 to pay for a misconceived furlough program another badly organised Covid projects.

This country borrowed far too much money during Covid-19 and they managed the pandemic chaotically it is now reported. Sunak was far too generous and were are now paying the price because when the loan was taken out interest rates were low but they’ve shoot up post Covid and the UK is paying £100 billion annually to service the interest only on these international loans.

This means that there is no money to improve welfare or to embark upon infrastructure projects. It’s partly why the HS2 project has been pretty well shut down. It’s a complete disaster and that’s thanks to Rishi Sunak by the way as he was the Chancellor during Covid-19.

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7 years later, Cecil the Lion killer dentist Walter Palmer consistently receives one-star reviews

Lion killer Palmer
PALMER at his dentistry clinic.

Walter J Palmer DDS still receives one-star ratings for his dentistry 7 years after he shot Cecil the Lion in Africa. On at least three websites where people can review the services he provides as a dentist: Yelp, vitals, Rate MDs, Dr. Walter James Palmer receives an overall rating of one star which is the lowest rating you can achieve.

This is because he is the notorious sport hunter who killed Cecil the Lion. In fact, he failed with his bow and arrow to kill Cecil. As I recall he injured the lion and the organiser of the hunt or one of those involved finished of Cecil with a bullet.

Walter J Palmer DDS
Walter J Palmer DDS still receives one-star ratings for his dentistry 7 years after he shot Cecil the Lion in Africa. Image: MikeB

The screenshots showing the ratings are shown above. Most of the reviews justifying the rating are about Dr. Palmer’s dentistry skills which they deride but some openly refer to his desire to shoot animals for fun and give him a one-star rating on that basis.

People don’t forget. They can’t. The killing of Cecil was an enormous news story seven years ago. Cecil was a well-known lion at the time. It is clear he was chosen by Palmer because Cecil was well-known. He wanted to kill a special lion to make it all the more entertaining. The justified animosity against Dr. Palmer has remained strong. I don’t expect things to change.

He will be hated to his dying days by hundreds of millions of people. I wouldn’t expect his one-star rating to improve. I hope it is affecting his business. There is one person, Mike B (no, it’s not me!) on the Yelp review webpage who grants him a four-star rating. It would appear that this person does not remember or doesn’t know about the lion shooting incident. Or he accepts it.

Protestors occupy the forecourt of Palmer's dentistry business.
Protestors occupy the forecourt of Palmer’s dentistry business (2015). Image in public domain.

Personally, it brings me great joy to know that there are enough people in the world like me who hate this individual for what he did. It indicates to me that the people who find sport and trophy hunting in this day and age unacceptable far outnumber those who find it acceptable.

Actually, the word “unacceptable” is too mild to describe what we feel about it. We detest it. We hate Palmer. It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to realise that shooting lions in a far-off country (Africa) for the fun of it is about as immoral as you can get particular at a time when the lion population on that continent has decreased and continues to decrease rapidly to the point where their very existence in the world is being jeopardised.

The sport hunters (and those that organise sport hunting) who say that shooting lions improves their conservation are simply wheeling out the same old tired, disreputable argument which does not hold water in any shape or form.

The basic premise that you can destroy animals of a certain species to improve that species’ survival in the wild runs counter to any common sense and decency.

Click this link to see all the articles on Palmer! He was big time news for a long time.

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Cecil the Lion has not died in vain after British MPs vote through a ban on the importation of hunting trophies

Britain is leading Europe in the creation of legislation to ban the importation of hunting trophies from big game into the UK. There is no EU law banning trophy imports. It seems that this UK legislation is one benefit of Brexit. Yesterday, Members of Parliament unanimously backed a ban on the importation of hunting trophies. The legislation now goes to the House of Lords where animal advocates hope they will also agree to it and it will become law.

A stuffed lion head on a wall somewhere that was once a trophy and ended up being for sale online
A stuffed lion head on a wall somewhere that was once a trophy and ended up being for sale online. Image in the public domain.

In a nice touch, Trudy Harrison, an environment minister, said:

“Actually, dare I say that Cecil the Lion has not died in vain. It’s an emotional day for all of us. We are sending a very strong message to the rest of the world that in this country we are demonstrating our support for endangered species and we do not accept their body parts being used as so-called trophies to be brought back into this country.”

The administrators of African nations where they sell licences to shoot lions and other iconic species, are disappointed. They lobbied hard to have this proposed law overturned. Maxi Pia Louis, a leading campaigner against the bill from Namibia, said:

“We are immensely disappointed African’s voice has not been heard. Britain has ignored our numerous attempts to engage. What is the purpose of the diplomatic ties we supposedly share? This bill will make African communities poorer for many years to come.”

My understanding of that statement is that his argument is that European and American money paid for licences goes towards improving the lives of local people. But is that a good argument? It is treating lions as commercial assets. It’s worse than that. It is treating lions as commercial assets the value of which is only realised when they’ve been shot dead with a bullet or a bow and arrow! That simply cannot be acceptable at any level never mind the ethical and moral.

You may remember that Cecil the Lion was a famous lion who was killed by an American dentist, Walter Palmer. Cecil was particularly carefully selected as he was an iconic individual in West Zimbabwe. He was the most popular visitor attraction in Hawange National Park. Actually, Walter Palmer couldn’t shoot dead Cecil with a bow and arrow and he had to rely on others to finish off the animal. The whole episode was well-publicised and quite disgusting for many animal advocates.

But his death, was not in vain because it helped to inspire people to put an end to trophy hunting in Africa by, usually, rich Americans and British.

There are attempts by some members of Parliament to scupper the bill by putting forward large numbers of amendments but it didn’t work. There was a ground swell of campaigning to push it through. It is hoped that this vote will now inspire other governments to follow.

There is a danger that there may be a back door to getting trophies into the UK via Northern Ireland which apparently is not subject to this law because of Brexit.

The ban on the importation of trophies from Africa into the UK begs the question as to whether the shooting of African lions enhances and supports conservation of lions which is the argument used by both the shooters and the organisers.

They have pleaded with great passion that the shooting of these animals helps to conserve them but they are biased on there? They would say that wouldn’t they?

The picture isn’t black-and-white because perhaps some money paid for licences does go into conservation. A safari businessman, Robin Hurt, 77, said:

“Take the legal hunt out of the bush and he or she will soon be replaced by legal poachers, the poachers’ methods being unselective, and geared to overkill and often extermination.”

That’s his point of view. But if the conservation of lions and other wild species has come down to shooting them to protect them, for me, there is something dreadfully wrong with the conservation programme. That’s why I don’t believe the arguments supporting sport hunting in Africa are good ones.

When you treat animals like that you devalue them which must have a negative knock-on effect for conservation. If you devalue animals there less need to protect them. It’s about mentality, morality and ethics and fundamental processes.

All the arguments that the shooters use our pragmatic arguments. They are compromises. And they are compromises to the point where conservation is undermined.

There are other issues. I can think of two instances where sport hunting has actually altered the anatomy of the animals being hunted. For example, the average size of lions in Africa has dropped. This is because the sport hunters want to shoot the biggest and best lions. This has an effect on natural selection because it is in effect artificial selection taking place inadvertently by the culling of the best individuals.

And secondly, elephant tusks are shorter than they were in the 1980s with a growing number of adult elephants having no tasks at all. The sport hunters are damaging the gene pools of these animals.

This is an argument which we don’t see discussed by the shooters. But they wouldn’t, would they? They are carefully selective in their arguments which are, for me, transparently flawed.

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Dr. Walter Palmer who killed Cecil the Lion still gets many one-star ratings

Walter Palmer and Cecil the Lion
Walter Palmer and Cecil the Lion. Image: PoC based on photos in the public domain.

You may recall that Dr. Walter Palmer is the notorious Minnesota dentist who shot and killed Cecil the Lion. Well, actually he shot the lion with his bow and arrow, but it did not kill Cecil who was finished off by an agent later, I believe. The news was all over the Internet because it was an example of an American big game hunter, a trophy hunter, killing a renowned male lion in Zimbabwe. This was a famous lion known to locals and trophy hunters. And Dr. Palmer wanted the celebrity that he thought he would gain from killing the animal.

Walter Palmer returns to work
Walter Palmer returns to work. Image in public domain.

He achieved great celebrity of the wrong kind: notoriety as evidenced by the fact that seven years after the killing on review websites such as Yelp, Dr. Palmer is receiving many one-star ratings for his dental practice.

RELATED: Dr Palmer’s First Day Back at Work and There’s Pandemonium!

Walter Palmer ratings on the Rate MDs website
Walter Palmer ratings on the Rate MDs website. Note the recent date (bottom right).

Yelp rating of Walter Palmer the dentist who killed Cecil the Lion
Yelp rating of Walter Palmer the dentist who killed Cecil the Lion

And the one-star ratings are coming thick and fast 7 years later! ✔️👍😎 At one time, Yelp had to remove thousands of abusive reviews targeting the dentist. His dental practice is in Bloomington, Minnesota. At one time protesters picketed his River Bluff Dental clinic.

Such was his notoriety that the memory of this abusive and wanton killing has not faded. The people are still angry at Dr. Palmer.

The one-star reviews can be seen on Yelp, RateMDs and to this day. The criticism is alive and well for which I am delighted.

These one-star reviews are written in a way which indicates that the reviewer or commenter has visited his dental clinic. I don’t know whether that’s true or not.

I don’t know if Yelp and other review websites insist that the review is verified, and that the person has actually visited the practice. It appears not. It appears that the reviews are a vehicle to criticise Dr. Palmer and damage his business. But I could be wrong.

This, for me, is entirely understandable. People want to get back at Dr. Palmer. They want to harm him through his business because he is a rich man who can afford to spend $50,000 on a hunting permit in Zimbabwe to kill a famous lion.

Apparently, the Daily Mirror reported in 2020 that Dr. Palmer had $100,000 to kill and endangered ram in Mongolia.

It appears that Dr. Palmer obtains cheap thrills from killing the rarest and the most endangered animals on the planet which makes them more valuable. So the rarer the animal is and the more endangered the animal, the more these agents charge rich Americans to kill them. It is quite bizarre and ridiculous when you consider that the world should be concerned about conservation of wild species and not killing them for pleasure.

Below are some pages on sport hunting.

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