US hunting lobby spent £1m on fight to delay UK trophy import ban

1 month ago 82

The US hunting lobby has spent £1m putting unit connected the authorities to hold the trophy import ban, a caller study by MPs has found.

Boris Johnson promised to prohibition the imports of these trophies 3 years ago, but the authorities has inactive not gone done parliament. Because of the delay, the Conservative MP and carnal payment campaigner Henry Smith has enactment guardant his ain backstage member’s measure to prohibition imports of hunting trophies.

A caller study from the all-party parliamentary radical (APPG) connected banning trophy hunting has elaborate the lobbying efforts of planetary hunting groups.

The study recovered that the US-based hunting lobby radical Safari Club International (SCI) spent £1m connected a run to alteration the minds of MPs and the British nationalist astir a prohibition connected imports of endangered species’ assemblage parts.

SCI is the world’s biggest trophy hunting group. It awards prizes to its members for sidesplitting ample numbers of endangered animals. Founded successful the 1970s, it is 1 of the biggest firm donors to politicians’ campaigns successful the US, and calls itself “the starring defender of the state to hunt”.

The APPG study recovered the SCI funded a Facebook leafage called Let Africa Live, which posted claims specified as: “The UK is astir to destruct section economies successful Africa.” Although the leafage insinuated it was created by section groups successful African countries, an probe recovered it was funded by SCI from a cookware of wealth called the Hunter Legacy 100 Fund. The run yet had its leafage unopen down by Facebook, whose caput of information said: “The radical down this web attempted to conceal their identities and coordination.”

The Conservative MP Sir Roger Gale, seat of the APPG, said fierce lobbying had alerted the authorities that this could beryllium a “contentious” issue.

He added: “The government, if thing is contentious, ever pleads for much time, but we request to get connected with it. The US weapon lobby has been lobbying similar huffy … Safari Club International has enactment a sizeable magnitude of unit connected the government.

“I person my ain calls with the premier minister. I deliberation helium is broadly committed to putting this authorities through, but it needs to beryllium done without worrying astir this lobbying.”

Earlier this twelvemonth there was a fierce row successful the Conservative party, with ministers saying Johnson was adjacent to scrapping the prohibition aft campaigning from the shooting and hunting lobby. At the time, the British Association of Shooting and Conservation welcomed the news, saying a prohibition would harm conservation. Supporters of trophy hunting accidental that funds raised by the signifier are needed to money conservation efforts and enactment section economies.

The APPG study says that lion, elephant and rhino numbers person accrued successful Kenya, wherever trophy hunting is banned, portion lion numbers besides recovered powerfully successful Zambia and Zimbabwe aft impermanent trophy hunting bans.

The primate adept Jane Goodall told the APPG: “Trophy hunters termination for pleasure. They destruct animals for bragging rights, to show their expected fearlessness and courage. The hunting lobby volition enactment hard to sphere the presumption quo. If we privation to support our estimation arsenic an animal-loving nation, each hunting trophies should beryllium banned. Time is of the essence. Many of the taxon killed by trophy hunters are adjacent to extinction.”

Sign up to First Edition, our escaped regular newsletter – each weekday greeting astatine 7am BST.

A Defra spokesperson said: “We are committed to banning the import of hunting trophies from thousands of endangered and threatened species. This prohibition volition beryllium among the strongest successful the world, starring the mode successful protecting endangered animals. And we invited the backstage member’s bill, led by Henry Smith MP.”

An SCI spokesperson said the deleted Facebook leafage was made by a contractor, not by nine management. They said: “The information is that successful a misguided effort, and unbeknownst to SCI, a sub-contracted vendor took unauthorised enactment by utilizing falsified societal media accounts. While it is regrettable that they betrayed the spot of the hunting assemblage by unnecessarily resorting to questionable tactics, the accusation the vendor conveyed regarding hunting and conservation is verifiably existent and is made nary little applicable by unsound methods of distribution.”