Rumours circulate that the UK Government is considering abandoning the Animals Abroad Bill altogether – after recently announcing “Government set to ditch promised animal welfare ban on fur imports and foie gras” (19 February 2022).
The proposed legislation to end hunting trophy imports, which was to be contained within the Animals Abroad Bill now also looks to be in jeopardy, despite overwhelming public support for such a ban.
[Update] A government source has since dismissed the claim that the government has abandoned the promised hunting trophy import restrictions being implemented in full – “Government says it remains committed to banning hunting trophies,” BBC News, 15 March 2022.
In February 2022, Survation conducted a poll of 2,050 voters asking if they agreed or disagreed with the following statement: “The UK government should ban trophy hunters from bringing back trophies of hunted animals as soon as possible.” The results show a clear margin in support of a ban, with 86% agreeing and just 2% disagreeing.
Among supporters of the Conservative Party, the margin was even stronger – 92% of Tory supporters agreed there should be an immediate ban, with only 1% disagreeing.
It follows a previous poll in March 2021 which asked the same question. The figures showed 85% agreed. Support for an immediate ban among Conservative voters was once again higher, at 89%.
In conclusion, surveys of voter attitudes towards trophy hunting and the government’s proposals to ban imports show:
1. The vast majority of voters want a trophy hunting import ban;
2. They want it implemented as soon as possible;
3. There is virtually no opposition to the Government’s proposals;
4. Conservative voters are even more strongly supportive of a trophy hunting ban;
Opinion polls also show that support for a ban has continued to grow over time, and that voters support a total ban rather than one limited to the most endangered species.
“Politically speaking, Boris Johnson should be embracing a policy that resonates not only with his power base but with the country at large, especially with potentially difficult local elections on the horizon” – Eduardo Gonçalves, the founder of the Campaign to Ban Trophy Hunting, The Times, 14 March 2022
On the 18 March 2022, the second reading of the Rt. Hon. John Spellar MP’s Private Members’ Bill, “Hunting Trophy Import (Prohibition) Bill” is due, 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 support to expedite the passage of the necessary hunting trophy import legislation through the parliamentary process.
17 March 2022 – Houses of Parliament, London
Image supplied by the Campaign to Ban Trophy Hunting:
“Globally, an animal is killed by a trophy hunter every 3 minutes;
British trophy hunters shoot around 200 animals a year;
British trophy hunters are among the biggest elephant hunters in the world;
They also shoot lions bred in captivity, polar bears, cheetahs, rhinos, monkeys and dozens of other threatened species;
British companies host trophy hunting ‘holidays’ in Africa where people can shoot giraffes, zebras, leopards and the ‘Africa Big 5’ animals for fun;
If implemented, the UK government’s proposed ban on trophy imports would be the toughest in the world;“
“Henry Smith MP introduces Bill to ban trophy hunting imports,” Henry Smith MP, 16 June 2022
“The British government must lead the way on animal welfare,” The Guardian, 1 April 2022
“Ditching the ban on trophy hunt and foie gras imports is dangerous and undemocratic,” The Independent, 16 March 2022
“Failing to pass welfare laws would be betrayal of animals and public, PM told,” The Independent, 15 March 2022
“Tories put trophy import ban on hold and risk alienating voters,” (Paywall) The Times, 14 March 2022
“Why Britain should Ban Hunting Trophies ASAP,” IWB, 7 January 2022