Pieter Kat started this petition to Conservative Party Leader Boris Johnson and 6 others
In 2019, Barbara Creecy – South Africa’s Minister of Environmental Affairs – set up a High Level Panel to review the policies, legislation and management regarding the breeding, hunting, trade and general handling of elephants, lions, rhinos and leopards. The Panel recently came back with their decision – recommending that Cabinet endorse a report calling for the end of lion farming, captive lion hunting, cub-petting and the commercial farming of rhinos.
Also in 2019, the UK government made some promises to halt the import of trophies collected by British hunters abroad. This promise was repeated in the most recent Queen’s Speech on 11th May – “Legislation will also be brought forward to ensure the United Kingdom has, and promotes, the highest standards of animal welfare [Animal Welfare (Sentience) Bill, Kept Animals Bill, Animals Abroad Bill].”
The highest standards of animal welfare? Well there ARE some very good things listed as government intentions in the Queen’s Speech. For example the entire of issue of animal sentience. The UK was a pioneer with their Protections of Animals Act 1911, which basically said animals can feel pain. Slowly, slowly other animal protections emerged.
If Animal Sentience is going to be discussed in a Bill, does that same Bill not also have to take into account the sentience of the animals being snuffed out by trophy hunters? This Bill risks being remembered for its shortcomings in terms of lion conservation.
The UK government has prevaricated on the issue of trophy hunting imports for more than a decade. Unlike the High Level Panel conclusions in South Africa and an inevitable need for a clear government response there, the UK government continues to sit on its hands with their own consultations.
1. A public consultation on the issue organized by the government itself. Submissions of various detail had a submission deadline of January 25th, 2020. The government decided to extend the submission deadline to February 25th – saying that some people might have not been able to submit their views because of the Christmas and New Year holidays. The government promised to publish results 12 weeks later. That would be May 2020. We are now a year overdue.
2. Our many requests to government about the delayed publication of the public consultation results have been met with recalcitrance and delaying tactics. Ministers contacted have latterly claimed the COVID situation as a reason for the many delays.
3. We are approaching 700,500 signatures, counting upward per day, in our LionAid petition to end lion trophy imports into the UK. At Change.org, this level of response is the highest recorded petition for ANY animal issue to date. The UK government does not acknowledge results of the petition to date.
The UK government promotes the weak position that they will “bring forward legislation to ensure UK imports and exports of hunting trophies are not threatening the conservation status of species abroad”. Who is going to determine whether UK imports of hunting trophies threaten their species conservation status?
The UK seems to be adopting an anaemic version of the USA import restrictions. The USA decided to place lions on their own ”threatened” list of species. Took many years, and public consultations, but eventually the decision was made. The USA made also the consequential decision that as captive bred lions were in no way important to the conservation of the species, that all hunting trophy imports of captive bred lions would cease.
The UK government really needs to step up to the plate. Hiding behind “sustainable” use as a reason to allow trophy hunting imports in the future slaps the faces of all in the voting public who have long since made up their minds about such trophy hunting imports.
So — let’s have the results provided by the UK Ministers, unredacted, of the public consultation to start? And decisively, a ban on the import of all trophies, whether from wild or captive bred lions.