After two years of announcing that the UK will ban the import of hunting trophies from some animals, the UK Government, with a new proposal they recently unveiled, has once again failed to announce when the promised ban will happen. In 2019, the government consulted on plans for a ban, which received overwhelming public support, but there is no ban yet, and in the past two years about 300 trophies from endangered animals have been shipped to the UK — according to the Campaign to Ban Trophy Hunting.
After complaints that the initial proposed government’s bill would only cover endangered species, George Eustice, the environment secretary, has now proposed a new one that includes near-threatened and threatened species as well. However, this new bill has not been tabled yet, and no date has been announced regarding when it will.
This new proposal may have been a response to an alternative private members’ bill that has already been tabled, as this one would ban the imports of hunting trophies from any wild animal species. The Hunting Trophy Import (Prohibition) Bill was sponsored by Labour MP John Spellar on 24th November 2021, and it’s now in its second reading. The government may not like the idea of a ban on the import of all hunting trophies, and therefore they may have proposed a different bill that does not cover all wild animals. It remains to be seen if Conservative MPs will not vote for the private members’ bill to support the Government’s weaker version.
The new Government’s proposal will ban the import of trophies whether or not they were obtained from a wild animal in the wild or one bred in captivity specifically for trophy hunting. Convicted trophy hunters under this new proposal could serve up to five years in prison.
Eduardo Gonçalves, founder of the Campaign to Ban Trophy Hunting, has said to the Guardian: “The bill, as far as we’ve seen, looks to be in pretty good shape, but it has been two years since it was originally announced in the Queen’s speech, and many animals have been cruelly and needlessly killed in that time. So it is really imperative for the government to bring the bill to parliament as quickly as possible.”