Hunting Trophies (Import Prohibition) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons am 10:15 am ar 22 Mawrth 2024.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Rosie Duffield Rosie Duffield Llafur, Canterbury 10:15, 22 Mawrth 2024

All of us here are familiar with the term “trophy hunting”. We have come to recognise the evil acts that those two harmless-sounding words represent, but for those watching who may be less familiar with the term, animal welfare organisations such as SPCA International define it as

“the hunting of…animals for sport, not for food. Usually, the animal is stuffed or a body part is kept for display.”

They go on:

“Many hunters claim that trophy hunting isn’t bad for animals. They say they are supporting animal conservation. The opposite is true, live animals support the population of their species.”

The League against Cruel Sports says:

“We believe this multi-million pound industry is unjustifiable from an animal welfare point of view, but also for conservation, as it is responsible for endangering several species around the world.”

As for “sport”, that word is usually reserved for activities that revolve around the more positive aspects of life: fitness, healthy competition, teamwork, friendship, personal achievement, endeavour and endurance. Not a single one of those could be attributed to an activity that involves an individual choosing to photograph themselves grinning triumphantly as they celebrate killing a once gentle and graceful giraffe, whose lifeless body now lies slumped and twisted at their feet, pumped full of deadly bullets. My good friend the vet and animal welfare campaigner Dr Marc Abraham OBE agrees. He says:

“Anyone with an ounce of compassion and kindness despairs at seeing these images of cowardly, pathetic trophy hunters grinning over their still-warm kill. Exploited animals used as pathetic props to maintain, even elevate, an online self-image of superiority, without any shred of guilt or conscience.”

He describes those taking part in these killings as having

“a tragic lack of empathy and the highest form of narcissism”,

and says that

“to be complicit in this most extreme, callous form of animal cruelty, plus then to harvest the body parts and ship them back home to the UK, couldn’t be a clearer indicator of violent antisocial behaviour.”

Every Member of this House will have had emails and letters from, and meetings with, constituents who love and value animals, and loathe those who exploit, harm or kill them. There are so many British people who show such kindness—who campaign on behalf of animal charities, who volunteer, who make donations or fundraise, and who share a love for our planet and the incredible, breathtaking wildlife that we are so fortunate to benefit from. How dare a few wealthy individuals decide that they have the right to buy and cause the death of a lion, polar bear or elephant.

Alongside our constituents, there are those who use their fame and public platforms to fight for the protection of animals. Those campaigners include frequent visitors to Parliament whose passion is infectious—people such as the wonderful Peter Egan, friend to many in this place, who for years has fought hard to raise awareness and keep a ban on trophy hunting imports at the top of MPs’ agendas. Peter works with the fantastic campaigner Eduardo Goncalves, who we talked about earlier, and who is supported by many across this House, including my right hon. Friend John Spellar, who has never given up fighting to protect animals during his time here. He steps down at the next general election, but it is vital that we carry on his compassionate work. I absolutely pledge to do that to the best of my ability.

No speech about animal welfare should leave out top animal champion Ricky Gervais. He could spend his days polishing his many awards, but instead he chooses to condemn trophy hunting and shame those who consider the murder of animals to be a hobby. He supports the ban and has called trophy hunting

“humanity at its very worst”.

The murder of animals for fun is also condemned by Chris Packham, Bill Bailey, Joanna Lumley and Sir Ranulph Fiennes, as well as MPs and activists across the political divide and those with no political affiliation whatsoever. The legendary Jane Goodall said:

“Trophy hunting is utterly cruel, utterly unnecessary and utterly disastrous from a conservation perspective. It inflicts pain and suffering on animals for no other reason than to boast of some ephemeral ‘prowess’. There is no material human need met by it;
it is a hobby, pure and simple, and a deeply wrong one at that.”

I urge colleagues to support the Bill. I sincerely thank my right hon. Friend the Member for Warley for bringing it forward. I echo the words of the Humane Society and say that there is “no excuse” for trophy hunting, so let us get the ban done.