Torbay MP works to ban hunting trophies imports (England)
Nikki Belso, Torbay Weekly
February 28, 2023
Torbay's MP has helped to deliver a bill which could introduce the world’s
toughest ban on importing hunting trophies.
Kevin Foster served as a member of a special House of Commons committee
which oversaw the Hunting Trophies (Import Prohibition) Bill which proposes
to ban British trophy hunters from bringing back body parts of threatened
species from Africa and other parts of the world.
It was debated by a cross-party Public Bill Committee of MPs last month and
was passed unanimously.
Since 1980, British hunters have brought home approximately 5,000 trophies
of species listed as endangered by the Convention on International Trade in
Endangered Species (CITES).
The most popular animals shot by British hunters are elephants, hippos,
leopards, zebras and lions in Africa. Other animals include polar bears,
cheetahs and the critically endangered black rhino.
MP Kevin Foster said: “I was pleased to serve on the Public Bill Committee
for this important legislation and playing my part in securing enhanced
protections for animals in danger.”
Henry Smith MP, who has introduced the bill to Parliament, said: “I’m
grateful to Kevin for taking their place on the Public Bill Committee for
my Hunting Trophies (Import Prohibition) Bill. This Bill will be an
effective deterrent against those seeking to cause pain and suffering to
Experts say elephant numbers have fallen from three million a century ago
to just 400,000. Lion populations have crashed from 200,000 in the 1970s to
between 10-20,000. Scientists say trophy hunting is partly to blame, said
An opinion poll shows 86 per cent of voters agree with a ban - only two per
cent expressed opposition. The bill has been welcomed by scientists,
conservation groups and African politicians too.
Dr Hans Bauer, of Oxford University’s wildlife conservation research unit,
led the IUCN’s recent assessment of lion populations. He said: “Trophy
hunting is linked to declining numbers of lions throughout its range.
Trophy hunting is standing in the way of progress because a small white
elite, together with their clients, have exclusive access to the land."
Professor Phyllis Lee, director of science for the Amboseli Trust for
Elephants and a member of the House of Lords Elephant Welfare Group, said:
“Elephants are declining too rapidly to be able to sustain themselves. They
will potentially become extinct within 50 years. The proposed bill will
help all threatened species. It will show the world the UK is taking action
against a barbaric practice."
Ian Khama, president of Botswana from 2008 to 2018, - who banned all trophy
hunting in his country - has also given the bill his blessing.
He said: “The ban I introduced worked. By the time I left office, Botswana
had twice as many elephants as any other African country. We had one-third
of all Africa’s elephants. And it meant we were playing our part in
preserving our planet. To kill an animal for a ‘trophy’ is immoral. It is
completely alien to African culture and traditions.”