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Hope for conservation if Hunting Trophies Bill amendments pass

On 16th June the Hunting Trophies Bill has its second reading in the House of Lords

The Hunting Trophies (Import Prohibition) Bill is due to have its second reading in the House of Lords on Thursday 16 June; following this, the Bill reaches committee stage where tabled amendments are debated and voted on.

With support from across the House and the Government, it is unlikely the Bill will be voted out at this point. However, there are several amendments tabled that seek to prevent potentially catastrophic effects the new legislation could have on hunting-led conservation abroad. One such amendment suggests an exemption for cases where the hunting trophy is shown to have been obtained in a way which contributed to the conservation of flora, fauna or natural habitat. Another requests the addition of a clause that would require a three-year progress report to be laid before Parliament examining the effectiveness of the Bill and its impact on the conservation of species to which it relates.

At its second reading in the Commons back in November 2022, Henry Smith MP, who is leading the Bill through the Parliamentary process, covered some of the arguments for the legislation. He emphasised that the Bill is about Britain making “a concrete contribution to tackling the global conservation crisis” and that a “British ban on imports of hunting trophies would help to save thousands of animals that are threatened with extinction”.

In a recent blog post on, which outlines the government’s support for the bill, a Defra spokesperson is quoted as saying: “The public has rightly voiced their concern at the thought of hunters bringing back trophies from endangered animals, and this ban will be one of the toughest in the world and play an important part in helping reverse the decline of wildlife.”

With no shortage of case studies offering evidence to the contrary, it is hoped that the accuracy of the statements made by Mr Smith and by Defra can at least be scrutinised if the amendment requiring a three-year impact report is passed.

The Bill has gained support from vocal anti-hunting celebrities, including Ricky Gervais, and has been dubbed “Sally’s Law” by some, after a Bengal tiger cub of the same name was rescued from an outfit that captively breeds and rears animals for what is commonly referred to as “canned hunting”.

It is worth noting that the majority of the UK shooting community does not support canned hunting, and that other tabled amendments propose the removal of the word “hunting” from the Bill when used to refer to this practice.