This feeble, uncommitted UK government, bogged down and paralysed as it is by Brexit, is dithering hopelessly over a decision to ban the importation of hunting trophies despite a huge rise of such imports into the UK by British big-game hunters.
It is staggering, today, to realise that the UK allows callous big-game hunters to import their trophies such as the heads of lions shot in canned hunts, knowing full well that it encourages the sport hunting of iconic species on the African continent which further decimates the population size of these animals. It is a time when the lion is becoming genuinely endangered. This iconic species may become extinct in the wild on the planet within 30 years or less if this sort of behaviour goes on. Sport hunting fosters an incorrect attitude towards wildlife. It promotes the abuse of wildlife.
And the reason why Michael Gove, the UK environment secretary, is dithering about making a decision is because he actually believes that the money paid by big-game hunters to organisers in Africa goes to conservation. And he is concerned about employment in Africa; the jobs of those people who are occupied in facilitating the shooting of these animals. Personally, I want them to lose their jobs. And to believe that the tens of thousands of pounds that big-game hunters pay to the organisers goes to conservation is utterly foolhardy.
I would advise Mr Gove to send a couple of guys to Africa to investigate secretly. They will find that what I’m saying is true. People who know about these things know full well that the money paid by trophy hunting does not support conservation. The overall result is to damage conservation.
It appears that British hunters have an increased appetite for canned lion hunts. They breed lions and put them into a relatively small enclosed area where they cannot escape and where they sit on the ground to be shot by a British big-game hunter (LOL) advised by probably a South African rednecked shooter. The lion is about 80 yards away and he’s probably shot three times. The British man has the lion’s head chopped off and he takes it home to the UK legally because it’s allowed and because Mr Gove is dithering over making an obvious decision.
British hunters also have a taste for shooting elephants. This assessment is made by an inventory of animal parts imported into Britain. These details are in a report produced for Michael Gove by the Campaign to Ban Trophy Hunting. The campaign organisers will be briefing him today before a Westminster debate on the matter.
There is a cross-party early day motion calling on the government to halt trophy hunting import of endangered species. There is good support for such a ban in the House of Commons.
But Mr Gove said last week that the government has no plans to ban trophy hunting imports. The UK does not want to join other countries such as Australia, France and the Netherlands in doing so. Apparently Mr Gove is being advised to be cautious by conservationists. I’m surprised to hear that.
Global regulations allow trophies to be imported if they don’t harm the survival of a species. That apparently is the rule. For the life of me I cannot understand how the shooting of lions and elephants cannot harm the survival of these species if the money paid to allow it does not find its way back to conservation. In addition, it is blatantly cruel and immoral and a hobby that should be well and truly assigned to the past.
Controversially, Britain allows the importation of trophies from cheetahs, antelope such as the scimitar-horned oryx, the dama gazelle and the addax. All of these species are almost extinct in the wild. How, therefore, can Michael Gove be scratching his head over a ban?
The importation of sport hunted animal trophies into the UK has increased by a factor of 12 between 2010 and 2017 compared to 1981 to 1990. Half of these trophies are mounted lion heads. The UK is in the top 12 nations participating in canned hunting trips.
Eduardo Goncalves of the Campaign to Ban Trophy Hunting sums it up when he said:
“I think people would be shocked to learn about the scale of the trophy hunting industry in Britain, how Defra appear to be happy to let it continue. The whole industry is out of control, and the government is happy to conspire in the collapse of the animal kingdom in the most bizarre way imaginable”.