Wildlife organisations oppose Belgian ban on importing hunting trophies
The Brussels Times
April 28, 2022
Belgium became the third country (after the Netherlands and France) to
oppose the trade in hunting trophies last month, despite the ban getting
unanimous support from Belgium’s Chamber of Representatives.
The WWF-Belgium also doesn’t favour the ban, reports De Standaard. And in
spite of international efforts to clamp down on illegal hunting, several
African countries and the European Commission are less enthusiastic about
an outright ban on importing the trophies. Yet this seemingly
counter-intuitive position is not without conditions.
In the Name of Science
According to the European Commission, well-managed trophy hunting can have
benefits for biodiversity. The WWF agreed: “The import of hunting trophies
is not a priority at the moment, poaching and climate change are,” said
Koen Stuyck of WWF-Belgium.
“We are not in favour of trophy hunting, but we think it should be allowed
in rare cases on the condition that it is scientifically substantiated and
meets strict conditions.”
The European Hunting Alliance (FACE) posits that a ban would lead to more
ecological and economic instability in African countries. These sentiments
are echoed by the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature).
Only the animal welfare organisation Animal Rights is in favour of a strict
Belgian Council of State Rejects Ban
Belgium’s ban on importing hunting trophies was rejected by the Council of
State, which deferred to the European Commission for a final decision. For
their part, the Commission hasn’t shown great zeal to pursue such a ban.
Members of Parliament have called on Minister of Sustainable Development
Zakia Khattabi (Ecolo) for a resolution. Khattabi has not yet expressed an
opinion on the matter.
Dialogue took place at a conference organised by interest groups for
hunters, wildlife and safari parks in Brussels on Monday, with opponents of
the ban echoing economic concerns for communities in African countries.
“Hunting and nature conservation are of particular concern to Namibia and
Africa,” said Pohamba Shifeta, Namibia’s environment minister.
“Countries that ban the import of hunting trophies on their own do not help
nature conservation in Africa. On the contrary, local communities risk
The ambassadors of neighbouring Botswana and Tanzania agreed with the
Namibian minister, calling for political decisions to be based on science
rather than emotion.
“Hunting is more than killing animals. It is a scientifically based way of
guaranteeing the preservation of wildlife and nature,” they said.
Jorge Rodríguez Romero, a senior EU official, also voiced support: “We
believe that well-managed trophy hunting can have benefits for biodiversity
and local communities.”