Monday 26 August 2019 / 8:26 AM Animal Welfare / Sue Hayman

Labour announces total ban on cruel and indefensible trophy hunting imports

Today, Shadow Secretary for DEFRA, Sue Hayman, will announce Labour’s plans to end the import of wild animal trophies from threatened species.

Labour will unveil the party’s 50-point Animal Welfare Manifesto which includes a ban on trophy hunting imports this coming Wednesday.

Popular with a few wealthy game hunters, animals are killed for their horns, antlers, hides or heads which are later displayed as ‘trophies’.

Currently the import of hunting trophies is legal as long as the animal is licensed under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES).

In 2017, 29864 animals including lions, monkeys and zebras and endangered species such as Rhinoceroses and Elephants were imported as trophies. Overall, global trophy imports increased by 23% between 2013 and 2017.

Trophy hunting harms conservation efforts of endangered species by exacerbating population decline. It is often used as a cover for illegal poaching as traffickers pass off illegal wildlife products as legal.

A number of countries have introduced bans on imports of trophies, including Australia, France and the Netherlands.

Building on the 2018 Animal Welfare 50 point plan, Labour consulted with party members, animal rights organisations and the general public to create a comprehensive animal welfare agenda for government. Over 6000 individual responses were received in response to the consultation.

Eduardo Goncalves of the Campaign to Ban Trophy Hunting said:

“Trophy hunting is cruel, immoral and is devastating some of the world’s most endangered animals. Today’s announcement by Labour is a very welcome one and will be supported by the vast majority of people.”

Dr Mark Jones, Head of Policy at Born Free, said:

“Born Free opposes the hunting or killing of any animal for sport or pleasure. We also refute the claims made by trophy hunting proponents that their activities somehow benefit wildlife conservation and local communities, or that they represent some kind of animal management tool. Trophy hunting is a cruel relic of a colonial past and should be confined to history. We therefore very much welcome Labour’s plans to ban the importation of trophies from threatened species, and we urge the current and any future UK Government to adopt this policy. By doing so, the UK will be setting a progressive and enlightened example to the global community. The world’s beleaguered wildlife is in serious crisis, and wild animals belong in the wild, not in the cabinets of trophy hunters.”

Commenting on the report Sue Hayman said:

“Shooting and importing animals so that their heads, antlers and skins can adorn the trophy rooms of a few wealthy hunters is cruel and indefensible.

“The trade is exacerbating the decline of threatened species and brings unnecessary suffering to animals.

“Labour is the party that introduced the Hunting Act and by working with the general public, conservation charities and animal rights organisations on our Animal Welfare Manifesto, we will be the party to end the import of trophy animals.”