Why Britain should Ban Hunting Trophies ASAP

Stephen Wiggins Article, Event 3 Comments

The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Banning Trophy Hunting are holding a public webinar discussion on 11 January 2022, 11:00 – 12:00 hours (GMT):

On Tuesday 11 January, the APPG launches its new report ‘Shooting Up – Are Britain’s Trophy Imports & Hunting Companies Booming?‘ in a webinar open to the public, and challenges the government to bring a swift end* to imports of hunting trophies into Britain.

The APPG is calling on the government to name a date for the introduction of its bill, or to instead adopt the Hunting Trophy Import (Prohibition) Bill promoted by backbencher John Spellar MP which has won cross-party support and is scheduled for debate on Friday 14 January” – APPG on Banning Trophy Hunting

Public Webinar access – Why Britain should Ban Hunting Trophies ASAP – available via ZoomFacebook Live and YouTube:

Panellists include world-famous conservationist Dr Jane Goodall; Lt Gen Serestse Khama, former President of Botswana; Professor Phyllis Lee of the Amboseli Trust; Sir Roger Gale MP (Con); Baroness Sue Hayman (Lab); Dave Doogan MP (SNP); Lord Chris Rennard (Lib Dems); Hywel Williams MP


* It was reported 10 December 2021 that the conclusions of the UK Consultation on Hunting Trophies had led to government proposals to comprehensively ban the importation of hunting trophies into the United Kingdom.

The second reading of the Rt. Hon. John Spellar MP’s Private Members’ Bill, “Hunting Trophy Import (Prohibition) Bill” is now due 14 January 2022, with the supported suggestion that the DEFRA proposed hunting trophy import restrictions (“Policy response”) could be incorporated into Rt. Hon. John Spellar MP’s Private Members’ Bill (PDF version “Hunting Trophy Import (Prohibition) Bill – As introduced“) and thus gain an expedited passage of the necessary hunting trophy import legislation through the parliamentary process – if not, then the original passage for such hunting trophy import restrictions remains incorporation into the ‘Animals Abroad Bill,’ which means there is an unnecessary delay with no formal parliamentary timetabling announced for the ‘Animals Abroad Bill.’


Further Reading

Polar bear auctions and declining elephant numbers: the trophy hunting industry’s latest scandals,” Conservation Action Trust (The Canary), 7 February 2022

Hunting trophy ban must be backed by a global fund to support communities living with wildlife,” Daily Maverick, 31 January 2022

Trophy Hunting Lobby Derangement,” Campaign Against Canned Hunting, 27 January 2022

Vegas Polar bear hunt auction to fund fight against animal trophy ban in UK – Channel 4 News,” 20 January 2022

Covers the planned auction of a Polar bear hunt to help finance Safari Club International’s (SCI’s) bid to thwart proposed UK hunting trophy import bans. George Monbiot (The Guardian) backs a ‘smart ban’ (whatever that means), but this potentially opens up loop-holes for exploitation – in the past the ‘sustainability’ of any given hunting trophy has been excused based upon the hunting industry’s poor hunting quota setting, gene pool depletion of target species, short-termism commercial greed and corruption – these ‘flaws’ have been ongoing for decades within the hunting industry. How is that going to change if ‘business as usual’ loop-holes are perpetuated?

Which independent body will prove the sustainability of any given ‘smart ban’ (sic)  hunting trophy pre-import (plus the target trophy animal is already dead presumably when import is applied for), or will it revert to relying on CITES/the range state’s own made up data, ‘sustainable’ (sic) quotas etc….I fear the latter – that such evidence is often lacking, there is little means for independent verification, or the ‘evidence’ is based upon poor, arbitrary data, and/or is subject to corrupting influences.

The UK has no credible means (the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) is not resourced for this) to independently verify, or is George offering to do it all somehow? The USFWS rely on range state reports etc., so a “‘smart ban’ works” in the USA is not independently proven in the absolute sense of course.

And no, sporadic trophy hunting trickle down economics (where it actually occurs) is not guaranteed to reduce human-wildlife conflict. Hunting protecting habitat (as advocated in the Channel 4 News piece by SCI’s Jens Ulrich Hogh) is not conservation of the wildlife contained if target inhabitants are decimated by trophy hunting’s attrition (eg. reference the science cited within IWB’s UK Consultation submission).

Jane Goodall and former Botswana President Ian Khama speak up on behalf of non-consumptive alternatives to trophy hunting – that provides much greater employment and funding potential than trophy hunting, eliminating the risk of trophy hunting’s target species attrition.

UK government puts animal welfare policies on pause,”  The Guardian, 20 January 2022

‘Poorly conceived’ trophy hunting bill puts wildlife at risk, UK government told,” The Guardian, 13 January 2022 – An ‘Open Letter‘ from Dickman (WildCRU Oxford), et al. [duly noted that signatories to the ‘Open Letter’ and any affiliations, associations, financial links etc. to hunting lobbies were not revealed in the Guardian article]:

  1. The government’s “trophy hunting bill” is not in the public domain yet (with the trophy hunting import legislation due to be incorporated within the yet unpublished ‘Animals Abroad Bill’). So how can the “trophy hunting bill” (sic) be branded “‘Poorly conceived’” (sic) before the actual contents are public? Only the United Kingdom (UK) Department for Environmental, Food and Rural Affairs’ (DEFRA’) “Policy response“ and the draft content (which has yet to formally incorporate any of the “Policy response“ content) of John Spellar MP’s proposed private member’s bill has been put into the public domain to date.
  2. The UK Consultation (to which the Dickman et al  had the opportunity to make a submission) on hunting trophies studied the science over the course of some 21 months and reported its conclusions 10 December 2021 – concluding that trophy hunting puts wildlife at risk. The proposed policy of ‘bringing forward ambitious legislation to ban the import of hunting trophies from thousands of species’ has not been made up in wilful ignorance of the science, but because of it.
  3. The pro-trophy hunting campaign lacks ‘celebrity’ backing and resents it – “Is ‘celebrity power’ undermining global conservation efforts?” IWB, 22 January 2021
  4. The pro-trophy hunting scientists/lobby has in the past failed to openly declare vested-interests that funds its work;
  5. In the past ‘African voices’ have turned out to be fakes backed by the pro-hunting lobby;
  6. How would any proposed ‘smart ban’ (‘Open Letter‘) work in reality? The ‘Open Letter’ is not specific – which  independent is adequately resourced to check on a case-by-case basis? Would the given trophy animal already be dead upon application for import? Note: In the past, range state data, where the trophy was killed, has been subject to optimistic estimates (‘corruption’) in support of maintaining trophy hunting income – how would the proposed ‘smart ban’ counter this? For example:
    • Trophy hunting was the primary cause of death in Zambia’s South Luangwa landscape between 2008 and 2012, with 46 males harvested (Rosenblatt et al. 2014, WildCRU 2016). The Zambian Government reintroduce lion trophy quotas for 2016/17, with the ban lifted on 10 May 2015 (despite opposition voiced in the relevant Parliamentary debate). Fixed quotas of 60%, regardless of “offtake” (which encourages over-hunting) was the Zambians Government’s proposed approach, with the actual concession quota (74 in 2012) based on a very optimistic and unsubstantiated estimate of a total population of 1,500 to 2,500 lions (no evidence was provided to UNEP-WCMC to support this optimistic assessment. The IUCN has a 2014 estimate of approximately 510 lions).
    • Plenty left to kill” – evident in 2011 when in partnership with a pro-hunting lobby group, Safari Club International (SCI), Namibia launched a census “to manage the sustainability of the leopard population.” The limited returns from the farmers’ census were extrapolated, producing a flawed national estimate of leopards of over 14,000 leopards – giving the notion that there were ‘plenty left to persecute/kill.’ The reality is leopards are a shy and elusive species, there is no feasible means to accurately estimate the population, let alone such a high estimate to justify the killing. Namibia has a CITES trophy hunted export quota of 250 leopards per year, a questionable figure, according to experts of the International Union of Conservation of Nature (IUCN), because it is based on “insufficient ecological information and lack of scientific data.”
  7. The IUCN does not have a uniform stance with regard to trophy hunting, but has internal conflicts with trophy hunting and the influence of IUCN members that have clear pro-trophy hunting agendas, such as Conservation Force Inc., where its impartiality is openly questioned in the public media:”………critics have described it [Conservation Force Inc.] as a “an around-the-clock international communication headquarters and advocacy ‘war room’” for the pro-hunting lobby that has repeatedly blocked attempts to protect species including lions and giraffes – “Anti-hunting groups seek to oust big-game hunters from global conservation body,” The Telegraph, 3 October 2019.
  8. A November 2017 legal opinion reported to the IUCN (only made open to public scrutiny in 2019) concluded:

This report addressed the issue of “sustainable use” as a possible criterion to determine the eligibility for IUCN membership of organizations supportive of trophy hunting. It also addressed the more general issue of IUCN’s position on trophy hunting. Both issues are intertwined and need to be considered simultaneously. Trophy hunting is not consistent with “sustainable use”. And even if it were, “sustainable use” is not the sole criterion for the decision on eligibility of organizations seeking IUCN membership. The critical question is whether trophy hunting as it is practiced by individuals and promoted by certain hunting organizations may be consistent with IUCN’s general objectives as expressed in Articles 2 and 7. This is clearly not the case. Any other view would threaten IUCN’s credibility for providing moral and ethical leadership in conservation policies. It would certainly undermine the many efforts of IUCN members to promote a just and sustainable world” –  World Commission on Environmental Law (WCEL) Ethics Specialist Group (ESG)


The UK’s trophy hunting import ban needs to be a smart ban – an open letter,” IUCN SULi, January 2022

On the 11 January 2022, the AAPG on Banning Trophy Hunting  launched a new report:

[Update] “Shooting Up – Are Britain’s Trophy Imports & Hunting Companies Booming?

Hunts threaten big game gene pool,” The Times (paywall), 11 January 2022

The Times view on big game hunting: Shameful Trophies,” The Times (paywall), 11 January 2022 – “Killing exotic animals for sport has no justification and must be halted by law

Judi Dench and Peter Egan: Britons fuel gruesome big game trophy trade,” The Times, 11 January 2022

Update to the UK Animal Rights Initiative,” Safari Club International (SCI), 10 January 2022 – See how SCI set up fake African lobbies to promote SCI’s own killing agenda, spreading disinformation and a false-narrative. This fake SCI campaign shows that SCI has no credible ‘African voice,’ just their own selfish needs seeking to perpetuate the exploitation…..

Military dog handler is one of Britain’s top trophy hunters and keeps sick souvenirs,” Daily Mail, 8 January 2022

Comments 3


    The killing for fun industry has shot themselves in the foot for NOT policing the industry ie. Cecil’s illegal kill and now Mopane.

    I have warned esp in the US that killing our big cats will turn the public against all hunters. We have already lost our gene pool of iconic animals.

    Not a big tusker left in Botswana or Zimbabwe. Baiting our cats out of the safety of the parks is the same as shooting them inside the park. Most of all killing is legal because of corruption and the lobbying of the hunting industry. I bet I could shoot a giraffe in the zoo if I paid off the correct official.

    Now the noose is tightening on ALL hunting. I hate to use the term hunting as no big cats are hunted. Dogs, bait, drag lines, spotlights and shooting at night from the safety of a blind or the back of a cruiser is NOT hunting in anyone’s book.

    1. Post
      Stephen Wiggins

      Brian, Indeed – the hunting industry has had decades to overhaul and manage itself, ensure compliance that aligns with today’s principles and public acceptability to try to maintain hunting’s own credibility. But in reality much of the hunting lobby has become its own worst enemy – consumed with denial, self-delusion, self-interest, conflicts of interest, commercial greed, corruption and belligerence.

      Of course, blaming the ‘antis’ is the hunting industry’s default, spending $m on lobbying to defend all hunting practices against the ‘antis’ (because the ‘antis’ have dared to show the glaring faults within the hunting industry and its lack of moral/ethical acceptability in today’s society). The hunting industry should look themselves in the mirror first and foremost, to see themselves as the ones to blame for the lack of public acceptability for the hunter’s ‘killing for fun’ obsession(s) – Ref: https://iwbond.org/2019/01/09/protecting-hunting-from-the-hunters/

  2. Pingback: Hunting Trophies (Import Prohibition) Bill – United Kingdom – International Wildlife Bond

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