Imports of hunting trophies to the UK banned

A herd of elephants with baby calves approaches us. Took the shot at a low angle to enhance the port

DEFRA announces a ban on the import of hunting trophies from endangered animals - Credit: fishcat007/Getty Images/iStockphoto

Defra has announced a ban on “imports of hunting trophies from endangered and threatened animals into Great Britain”.  

Whilst there are no legislative proposals on the table as yet, BASC is already receiving reports from UK and overseas companies that are now suffering financial losses from cancelled trips and orders due to the uncertainty created. 

A press release on the BASC website stated that: “In November, the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs select committee discussed the impacts of a ban on the import of hunting trophies of endangered animals. 
“The only people invited to speak to MPs at the hearing were representatives from the Campaign to Ban Trophy Hunting, Humane Society International and Born Free Foundation.” 

These groups were pressed by MPs at the hearing on whether a hunting trophy import ban would address biodiversity loss and support conservation of endangered species. They could not give a coherent answer; the best they could offer was that “it will send a very important political message”. 

It is concerning that Defra’s press release announcing the ban contains quotes from those very same organisations. 

The BASC article went on to state that: “Ministers have made repeated statements in the House of Commons that banning the import of hunting trophies from endangered species will ‘help protect thousands of species worldwide.’ 
“On 2 July 2021, the government stated that in 2020 there were 12 imports of hunting trophies from species listed under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).” 

The government had also published a table logging the trophy hunting imports of five species listed under CITES from 2016-2020. During that five-year period there were 28 imports for African lion, zero imports for tiger, 24 imports for African elephant, zero imports for cheetah and nine imports for polar bear. 

It later transpired that many of these imports were not hunting related, and on 7 December the government stated that “No polar bear hunting trophies were imported under CITES in 2019 or 2020” and that the information in the table was “based on inaccurately reported data which conflated information on commercial and hunting trophy trade in polar bear parts”. 

BASC has pledged to keep briefing MPs on the facts, to lobby at all levels of government, and to take legal action if all else fails, ending with the statement: “We will never give up and we will outlast this and future governments that try to damage our way of life and a sustainable future for shooting.” 

Most Read

Head to the BASC website to read their full press release giving more detailed information on the subject.