On 17th March 2023, UK MPs passed a bill to ban the imports of hunting trophies from threatened species into the UK, with the support of both the government and the opposition. The Hunting Trophies (Import Prohibition) Bill will now go to the Lords to be debated. This was a private member’s bill put forward by the Conservative MP Henry Smith. The ban will cover about 6,000 species listed in Annex A or B of the Principal Wildlife Trade Regulation, and include some of the most endangered animals, including lions, tigers, hippos, leopards, and polar bears.
However, the bill was passed with two amendments, one to limit the power of the Secretary of State to add new species to the list the ban applies, and another from Sir Christopher Chope to create an expert advisory board on the import ban. In particular, the board’s role would be, “to advise the Secretary of State on any question relating to this Act which the Secretary of State may refer to the Committee or on any matter relating to the import to Great Britain of hunting trophies derived from species of animal which appear to the Secretary of State to be, or to be likely to become, endangered.” We will have to wait and see if the House of Lords adds more amendments to the bill.
Trudy Harrison, The international biodiversity minister, said to The Guardian: “using an internationally agreed list of species, this will play an important part in helping reverse the decline of wildlife across the world. I look forward to it becoming an act of parliament.” The actor and director Ricky Gervais, who supported the ban, said: “I’m thrilled and relieved. Well done to everyone involved and thank you to the Mirror for their wonderful support.”
Eduardo Goncalves, from the Campaign to Ban Trophy Hunting, said to the Mirror: “I want to thank the Mirror for its amazing support and all those brilliant Mirror readers who have been lobbying their MPs, making sure the hunting industry doesn’t get its way and helping protect lions, elephants, and other animals that sick British trophy hunters kill for kicks.”