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Trophy Bill in Lords — but a glimmer of hope

A three-year ‘impact report’ on trophy hunting may highlight the vital role it plays in nurturing some of the world’s most endangered species

The controversial Trophy Hunting Bill is likely to be passed but an impact report could help the cause

The Hunting Trophies (Import Prohibition) Bill had its second reading in the House of Lords as Shooting Times went to press last Friday. Next, the Bill goes to the committee stage when tabled amendments are debated.

With support from across the House and the Government, it was not expected that the Bill would be voted out at this point. However, there are several amendments tabled that seek to prevent the 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 that contributed to the conservation of flora, fauna or natural habitats.

Another requests the addition of a clause that would require a three-year progress report to be undertaken 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 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”.

With no shortage of case studies offering evidence to the contrary, it is hoped that the accuracy of Mr Smith’s statements 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 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