Hunting and Conservation No 368

Posted in: Comment, News and Updates

Whenever hunting gets discussed in parliament, rationality tends to be smothered by emotion.  Such was again to be seen as the House of Commons passed a bill banning the imports of hunting trophies, against expert advice from conservationists.

As The Guardian notes, "a private member’s bill put forward by the Conservative MP Henry Smith and backed by the government received the support of parliament after years of divisive debate on the issue. MPs from across the political spectrum spoke in favour of the legislation before it passed.  The government says the law, which will now move for debate in the Lords, will strengthen the conservation of endangered species and has widespread support from the British public. The ban was part of the 2019 Conservative election manifesto and comes after a high-profile anti-trophy hunting campaign backed by celebrities including Ricky Gervais, Brian May, Ed Sheeran and Joanna Lumley."

But the Guardian commendably also presents the other side of the argument:

"But many scientists, environmentalists and African community leaders have said the new law could inadvertently accelerate the loss of wildlife, and accused celebrity campaigners of “neocolonialism”. They point to the contributions of regulated trophy hunting to the recovery of populations of black and white rhino in Namibia and South Africa and the snow leopard in Tajikistan."

Amy Dickman, an Oxford University professor who is an expert on lion conservation said "It is bitterly disappointing MPs have succumbed to an emotive but misinformed animal rights campaign.  This bill will kill more animals than it will save. Hopes for a rational, evidence-based debate now rest in the House of Lords.”  Maxi Pia Louis, a community leader from Namibia, said she was disappointed that the voices of Africans had not been heard.  “Britain has ignored our numerous attempts to engage. What is the purpose of the diplomatic ties we supposedly share?  This bill will make African communities poorer for many years to come,” she said.

The bill is currently in the Lords where I fear there will be enough ignorant celebrities to ensure its passage.

Conservatives who don't understand conservation!  Who'd have thought that was possible?

Posted in: Comment, News and Updates


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