Peers wrecked the trophy hunting bill’s chances by debating until time ran out

Blesbok killed for trophy hunting
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On 12 September, the House of Lords met for the committee stage of the Hunting Trophies (Import Prohibition) Bill. Peers usually use this stage to go through a proposed bill and iron out the details. However, for the trophy hunting imports ban, a small group of peers used it as an opportunity to filibuster the legislation.

Time’s up

Anti-trophy hunting campaigners were cautiously optimistic back in March when the importation ban cleared the House of Commons unopposed. However, leading up to the House of Lords’ committee stage, a small group of peers tabled more than 60 amendments  to the legislation. Furthermore, the peers refused to ‘group’ the amendments, forcing the house to discuss each one individually.

As a result, only five of the 62 amendments were discussed during the three-hour-long meeting on 12 September. This meant progress on the bill stalled. In order to succeed, it must receive Royal Assent by the end of the current parliamentary session on 7 November.

‘Trophy hunting is cruel and blood thirsty’

Campaigners for the law were outraged, and described the peers’ tactics as filibustering. Sonul Badiani-Hamment, country director for Four Paws UK, said:

The purposeful filibustering by a handful of backbencher Peers means that time is running out to discuss the Bill and their myriad of 64 tabled amendments. This is a wasteful course of action, wilfully taken to prevent the Bill from becoming law.

Edith Kebesiime, wildlife campaign manager for World Animal Protection Africa, said:

We are bitterly disappointed that the Hunting Trophies (Import Prohibition) Bill didn’t pass its committee stage. Trophy hunting is a cruel and blood thirsty practice that, benefits a small number of rich foreigners who plunder Africa’s wildlife for their own ‘entertainment’ with no regard for our local communities.

Read on...

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The UK government needs to listen to African voices – we don’t want our wildlife heritage plundered any further and want to see change. Continuing to make wild animals shoot-to-kill targets at the mercy of the wealthy is outdated in a world where public attitudes are swiftly shifting.

With time having run out on the bill, it’s unlikely that the ban on trophy hunting imports will now become las. As Born Free’s head of policy Mark Jones explained, this is a result of the legislation coming through a private members’ bill rather than a governmental bill. The Canary previously reported on the problem of passing legislation through private members’ bills in relation to the Kept Animals Bill.

Extra time

However, it is possible the government will grant the trophy hunting importation bill extra time. Four Paws UK, the Humane Society International/UK, and other campaigners gathered outside parliament on 13 September to demand exactly that.

MP Henry Smith, who tabled the trophy hunting imports ban, holds a sign saying "Stop Trophy Hunting Imports"

Campaigners for a ban on trophy hunting imports gather outside parliament

A press release by the campaign groups under the name Coalition Against Trophy & Canned Hunting (CATCH) said:

The politicians and campaigners came together near Old Palace Yard in Westminster to implore the Government to find the necessary time to allow the Bill – a manifesto commitment – to complete its passage into law and protect the tragic victims of trophy hunting.

Top Tory MPs are also asking for more time to get the bill into law:

Uncertain future

Those opposed to the trophy hunting bill claim it will harm animals rather than help them. This is based on the idea that decreasing the revenue stream to trophy hunting companies will reduce their ability to conserve the creatures.

However, as the Canary has previously outlined, barely any money actually reaches local communities. One Tanzanian report revealed only 3% of trophy hunting revenue went to community development – the rest went towards tourism facilities, airlines, hunting operators, governments, and others involved in the trophy hunting industry.

The future of the bill is currently uncertain, though its chances are now slimmer than ever. What is clear, however, is that the trophy hunting industry will fight long and hard – so long as there is still money in murdering animals.

Featured image by Mikael Tham/Wikimedia Commons and additional images by Humane Society International/UK

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  • Show Comments
    1. The neo-colonialist mentality of the bone-heads in the House of Lords shames them ……. once again.
      Why are we not surprised !
      It’s time to abolish the House of Lords.
      Even its title tells you what it is all about:
      Corruption and patronage rules the HoL.

    2. This article says it all – in the UK trophy hunting is all about blow-up toys and posturing. The reason is simple. In the UK, it is a money making campaign. Look at the people moaning – HSUS (income $130 million a year), Born Free (£6.6 million), World Animal Protection (£32 million), all lifted off the animal loving public.
      The “Tanzanian example” is old and applied to one example of Africa. It doesn’t apply in Southern Africa. Anyway, hunters don’t hunt the animals in the great parks. These days they go to Africa and buy the animals they hunt.
      Here’s the real test – Kenya banned hunting thirty years ago (making wildlife valueless to the public) and has lost 70% of its wildlife because cattle are more valuable than wildlife in Kenya. South Africa promoted hunting thirty years ago and has increased its wildlife x20 times because game farming is more valuable on dry land than cattle. Trophy hunters take less than 1% of more than a million animals harvested in SA alone every year. The rest are meat. They are a natural resource. Everything gets eaten.
      That’s why the House of Lords are looking carefully at this proposed ban because it was put up by foreign animal rights nutters, eco-poseurs and charities earning billions out of it.
      Rural Africans by the million have made it very clear – they welcome trophy hunters. CITES and Scientists who actually work with wildlife admit that regulated trophy hunting plays a valuable part in conservation.

      1. “Dr Mark Jones, Born Free’s Head of Policy, says: “Claims by trophy hunters that they are primarily concerned about wildlife conservation or animal management are highly misleading. Trophy hunters don’t target problem or surplus animals; instead they covet those animals with the most impressive traits – the largest tusks, or the darkest manes. By doing so they remove key individuals, severely disrupting animal families and populations. They also cause immense animal suffering. Trophy hunting is not a conservation or animal management tool, nor does it contribute significant funds to conservation programmes or local communities; it is a cruel relic from colonial times that should be consigned to history where it belongs.” ”

        “Trophy hunters pay huge sums of money to kill wild animals for fun and for display. They enter their “achievements” into record books kept by trophy hunting industry groups. Trophy hunting harms conservation by exacerbating the population decline of many imperiled species. Compared to trophy hunting, wildlife-watching tourism generates far more income to support conservation and provides far more jobs to local people.”

        1. I notice that both your quotes come from organisations that make millions out of donations from animal lovers and spend little of it in Africa. Of course they make the right sounds. Why wouldn’t they? They are parsimonious with the truth – if they told you the whole truth, they wouldn’t make any money.
          In reality, the IUCN, the official world organisation that produces the Red Lists of wild animals that in turn control world animal trade through CITES, have advised that modern regulated trophy hunting is good for conservation.
          In reality, the High Commissioners of the Southern African hunting countries have told the UK government that a ban would be bad for their wildlife and people.
          In reality, the leaders of the rural communities in Africa that actually live with the wildlife have told the UK government that a ban will be bad for their people and the wildlife.
          In reality, hunting supports1.3 million sq kms of Southern Africa. In just one country, South Africa, even with by far the highest number of photo-tourists, only 2 out of 20 national reserves make a profit – the rest need subsidies and there are simply not enough tourists to support them, let alone millions of extra kms across a dozen other countries. The claim that photo-tourists can replace hunting is a silly pipe dream. Look at the photo-tourist disaster in Kenya in my earlier post above. Africa needs both photo and hunting tourists.
          Most UK hunters go to South Africa and hunt on 40 million acres of private game ranches. Those are wild animals raised for hunting and meat like deer in Scotland. The 10 million + animals on the farms are increasing in number because farmers shoot a million+ of them annually for meat and there are no lions, so they breed like white mice. They are extra to the “national wild” populations preyed on by lions – and twice the area of all the national reserves put together – 40 million extra acres of wild animals, birds and indigenous plants conserved through hunting. Would replacing it all with cattle be better for wildlife?
          Millions of people still hunt for food and all trophy hunted animals are eaten too. Hunting for food is normal human activity, but you think trophy hunting is bad. Whether you hunt to eat and keep the horns or hunt for horns and eat the meat makes no difference to the animal. The difference is in your head, not in the real world. Likewise cruelty – hunting is hunting, and trophy hunting with modern weapons is less cruel that hunting with spears and snares, that are apparently OK.
          Like fishermen, most trophy hunters are happy with a representative sample. Very few get lucky enough to find a big trophy. The very biggest and best trophies come from post breeding males, no longer having to waste energy fighting for breeding rights. They have already bred.
          The list goes on and on…you are kindly, but being deceived by clever organisations making a lot of money. You watch your Lion King and TV documentaries – meanwhile, in Africa, there is a different reality, a reality where lions are nasty, smelly dangerous killers and elephants are five ton garden slugs with a bad attitude. That’s why they are disappearing outside National Reserves and private game hunting farms. You wouldn’t tolerate them in your garden, so why should Africans, and why do you think you have the right to tell Africans what to do?

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