Boris Johnson urged to revive ban on fur, foie gras and hunt trophies
Jane Dalton, The Independent
May 7, 2022
Dozens of the UK’s leading animal charities have written to Boris Johnson
asking him to include in the Queen’s speech an earlier promise to ban
imports of hunting trophies, fur, foie gras and shark fins.
The measures were in the Animals Abroad Bill, which the government dropped
earlier this year in a dramatic U-turn to the anger of campaigners who have
devoted years fighting for the changes.
The bill also included a ban on the advertising of cruel tourism activities
abroad, such as elephant rides and elephant entertainment venues.
The heads of 38 organisations have joined forces to back the letter,
including the RSPCA, the Born Free Foundation, Peta, World Animal
Protection, World Horse Welfare, Compassion in World Farming, and Whale &
The sister of a woman killed at an elephant theme park in Thailand last
month told The Independent of her bitter disappointment that the government
was shying away from a ban, instead stating it expected tourists to do
their own research.
“How do holidaymakers know if you don’t tell them?” asked Helen Costigan.
The Independent previously reported that the various measures were agreed
at cabinet level, before Jacob Rees-Mogg, Brandon Lewis and Mark Spencer
are thought to have vetoed them – even though the changes were promised in
the government’s action plan for animal welfare published last year.
Every year, hunters from the UK travel abroad, often to southern Africa,
and pay thousands of pounds to legally shoot animals, such as lions,
elephants and even baboons.
They are allowed to bring back body parts such as stuffed heads, paws and
horns in a grisly trade that critics say is driving wildlife populations
The last Conservative Party election manifesto included a pledge to ban
trophy hunt imports. But according to The Times, Mr Johnson has indeed
dropped plans to ban the import and sale of foie gras and fur.
Conservationists have made repeated trips to Westminster to hand in
petitions and have meetings with government representatives over the issues
of the imports and adverts.
The charities’ latest letter tells the prime minister: “We would welcome
the opportunity to meet with your office and discuss the government’s plans
and ambitions for animals in the next session and look forward to hearing
Claire Bass, executive director of Humane Society International/UK, said:
“Boris Johnson made a promise to the people that after Brexit, Britain
would become world leaders in animal welfare.
“He can keep that promise by ensuring that the Animals Abroad Bill with
proposed bans on cruel fur, foie gras, shark fins and other horrors, is in
the Queen’s speech next week.
“These bans would stop Britain propping up animal cruelty that is already
banned from happening here, such as killing animals for fur fashion,
cutting off the fins of sharks for shark fin soup, or force-feeding ducks
to the point of morbid obesity to produce a pate.
“We urge the prime minister to stop hesitating on a Bill of which Britain
should be proud, and for which Britain would be applauded around the world.”
More than 200,000 people have signed a petition started by television
presenter Chris Packham calling for the government to uphold its pledge to
ban fur and foie gras, while a separate campaign petition to end fur
imports has gathered more than a million signatures.
A crackdown on foie gras was promised in the Queen’s speech this time last
The Kept Animals Bill, which bans live exports, keeping primates as pets
and tackles puppy smuggling, was postponed in the last parliamentary
session and is due to continue its passage into law via a carryover motion
in the next.
The government refused to comment on what would be in next week’s Queen’s