Trophy Hunting January 2017
Thank you for raising the concern regarding Cecil the Lion and the wider issue of trophy hunting.
I believe we have a moral duty to treat animals in a humane and compassionate way and that national governments must work together to fight animal cruelty. I therefore share your concerns about trophy hunting.
The international rules for the import and export of hunting trophies are established under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). Its aim is to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival. A hunting trophy of an endangered species can only be exported if the exporting country is satisfied that the hunt was both legal and sustainable.
According to the report filed by the IFAW, at least 1.7 million hunting trophies have been traded between nations between 2004 and 2014, with at least 200,000 of these trophies coming from species or sub-species, also known as taxa, that are categorised as threatened by CITES.
The previous Labour Government had a very strong track record in fighting for animal welfare rights. With numerous different types of legislation, including the the Hunting Act 2004, banned fur farming, cosmetic testing ban on animals, and, of course, the Animal Welfare Act 2006, the Labour Party has always been committed to upholding animal rights. The previous Labour Government also established the National Wildlife Crime Unit, which assists with the enforcement of wildlife law. At the last general election, I stood on a manifesto that included a commitment to build on this strong record on animal welfare and prior to the election, my Shadow Frontbench colleagues committed to again lead the fight against global animal cruelty.
The UK Government announced in November 2015 that it would ban lion trophy imports within the next two years unless there are improvements in the way hunting takes place in certain countries. The Government has also moved to take Benin and Ethiopia off the list of countries from which the UK is prepared to import lion trophies, and has said it has plans to move against Zambia and Mozambique.
I support the calls for a complete ban on the importation of any sport hunting trophies into the UK and I hope the Government will listen to the concerns that have been raised by organisations such as IFAW and take urgent action to support animal conservation around the world.
Thank you once again for contacting me and for sharing your views about this important issue.