As an animal lover I feel trophy hunting is utterly barbaric – Such unnecessary cruelty for the sake of sport and bragging rights has absolutely no place in the 21st century.
The UK has a strong track record in the fight to preserve the world’s wildlife. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species is responsible for regulating the wildlife trade, aiming to ensure that trade is conducted legally and sustainably. At its most recent conference the UK played a key role in developing a proposal for enhanced global rules on hunting and trade, resulting in tighter controls. This was a very positive step towards ensuring sustainability.
Our current import controls are managed at an EU-wide level and stricter controls on the import of six species subject to hunting, including lions and African elephants, were introduced in 2015. Following our withdrawal from the EU, the Government will be in a position to consider future UK policy in this area and I for one will encourage them to make it stricter.
As part of its efforts to tackle the illegal wildlife trade, the UK hosted a fourth international conference, building on previous conferences held in London, Kasane and Hanoi. It has also set up the £13 million, Illegal Wildlife Challenge Fund, to support projects in the developing world, and in 2012 funded a conference in Johannesburg to consider conservation of the African lion with other interested countries.
But, there is always more work to be done. As a rule, I do not sign EDMs as they are affectionately referred to as ‘parliamentary graffiti’. This is because once tabled, it is the up to the Whips to allocate parliamentary time to debate the motions. Due to the already-full parliamentary calendar, this means such motions are rarely allocated time.
This issue is nevertheless one that I feel very strongly about, and when Parliament has the chance to look at this policy area, post-Brexit, you can be assured that I will be there to make my views heard and argue for measures to reduce this grisly practice.