The home of Shooting Times and Sporting Gun

Trophy hunting bill comes to a halt in House of Lords

The Hunting Trophies (Import Prohibition) Bill has been blocked after politicians were accused of failing to listen to conservation experts, reports Felix Petit

Cape Buffalo

Five African nations thanked the peers against the bill for listening to their concerns

During the debate in the House of Lords, the Earl of Caithness Malcolm Sinclair highlighted the emotional rather than logical basis of the bill and the lack of expert backing that the bill had received. 

Thérèse Coffey and Defra had disregarded the advice of the Joint Nature Conservation Committee, the Government’s chief advisory on international and domestic nature conservation. African nations to whom the bill would have had a highly detrimental conservational and economic effect criticised the “arrogant” legislation for ignoring their views in favour of celebrities such as Gary Lineker. 

Rebel peers talked the bill down in what The Guardian newspaper has called filibustering tactics. Those Lords against the bill tabled 60 amendments and insisted on debating them individually, thus running out of time to debate and defeating the bill. 

Amy Dickman, professor of wildlife conservation at Oxford University, has been vocally against the bill from the start. She said: “The Government seems to have been heavily influenced by fundamentalist animal rights activists throughout this entire process.” 

The high commissioners of five African nations thanked the peers against the bill for listening to their concerns. A joint statement from Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe said: ‘We are grateful to the peers who presented well-researched arguments, based on scientific evidence, in support of our regional position.’ 

The high commissioners of Namibia, South Africa, Zambia, and Botswana have argued that sustainable hunting “feeds families, puts children through school, funds anti-poaching units and ultimately secures the long-term viability of the habitats and species we all care about so much”. 

Author and firearms expert Diggory Hadoke spoke to ST on the trophy import ban defeat. He said: “The entire political debate has leaned heavily on emotive and hysterical overreach by animal rights lobbyists and misguided tabloid media campaigns, which seem to exist in a bubble of wilful ignorance of the fact that sustainable sport hunting is the best conservation model in many countries and the only in some.”

This story first appeared in Shooting Times, Britain’s oldest and best-selling shooting magazine. Published every Wednesday, the 141-year-old title has long been at the coalface of the countryside, breaking the stories that matter to you. Subscribe here.