Not long ago the Conservative UK government promised to ban the importation of hunting trophies. The promise was in part a response to the general population’s desire to do this and I suspect Carrie Johnson, Boris Johnson’s wife had a say in the matter.
But now, in a move which will further deteriorate the relationship between this government and the citizens of the UK, they’ve backtracked, reneged on this promise because the intention was to introduce the Animals Abroad Bill this spring but according to The Times a Whitehall source said there was now no timetable. The bill would be introduced as soon as they have enough time in Parliament to pass it through the legislature. This is kicking the bill into the long grass. It’s an indeterminate period of time which could be never.
Personally, I am deeply disappointed with Boris Johnson on animal welfare. Little by little I becoming more disillusioned with this government. I had hopes but those hopes are being gradually rubbed out by behavior which lacks integrity.
To make matters worse. Other measures that were due to be in this bill including the banning of imports of foie gras and fur are opposed by some senior Conservatives. You can imagine the sort of people they are: wine guzzling and foie gras chomping grey-haired, white, middle-aged, overweight career politicians playing the system. I don’t like them. If they can’t commit to something as obviously decent as this then I can’t commit to them and vote for them either.
A survey in the UK last month found that 86% of adults were in favour of banning trophy imports as soon as possible. And the figure was 92% of Conservative supporters. In an earlier survey the percentage was 75% (as per the image on this page). All the number indicate a strong distaste for this obnoxious pastime.
The survey was commissioned by the Campaign to Ban Trophy Hunting which is headed by a remarkable man, Eduardo Goncalves, who founded the organisation. His response to this disappointing news is that: “There is no opposition to the trophy hunting policy at Cabinet level, and it is enthusiastically supported by influential backbenchers as well as party activists and voters, which makes the whole episode even more bizarre.”
He went on to say that “It would be political madness to ditch a policy supported by 92% of your voters. The optics would look very bad given the number of times the PM and ministers have promised the ban is going ahead from the dispatch box.”
He expresses a view which I completely agree with namely that the Conservative party is breaking the relationship between the voters and themselves; voters that they were dependent upon for the landslide victory at the last election. That relationship has already been fractured because of partygate (cake eating and Champagne drinking during social distancing measures) and now we have this.
Boris Johnson needs to grab hold of this policy and drive it through as it catches the imagination of the electorate. He needs to regain their support. It is running away through his fingers and this decision to stall the introduction of this animal welfare law will make matters worse.
The ban would apply to trophies from species including endangered African lions, elephants, giraffes and white and black rhinos. These are the iconic trophy hunting species but the ban will also apply to trophies from more than 1,000 other species listed by CITES such as Cape buffalo, zebras and reindeer. Cape buffalo are deemed near threatened by the IUCN Red List. They are targeted by British trophy hunters as well the big five African species.
Boris Johnson has described trophy hunting as a ‘disgusting trade’ and in 2019 his wife tweeted: “There is no excuse for trophy hunting. I’ve heard all sorts of attempts to defend it on tenuous conservation grounds. That’s rubbish.”
She is completely correct. The shooters and killers who enjoy the bloodlust of shooting these iconic species always declare to the world that what they do is good for conservation. It is complete mumbo-jumbo. The money they pay for the privilege of killing animals goes to corrupt officials in Africa.
The 2019 Conservative election manifesto promised a ban on the importation of hunting trophies of endangered animals. In December the government announced it would go further by extending the ban to other species. And George Eustice the environment secretary said the ban would be one of the toughest in the world going beyond the manifesto promises. Now this.
It’s not good and it is a fundamental failure which pretty well catastrophically turns me off the Conservative party at this time.