I believe that as sentient beings who can experience fear and pain, all animals should be treated with thought and care and it is why I am vehemently opposed to Trophy hunting.
Pursuing another animal in conditions which causes stress, fear and pain; with hunters killing as a form of entertainment, not for food, to control pests or to protect other species, is wrong.
I do understand that there are arguments for conservation hunting and some individuals and organisations make the case for this as a way of bringing income into countries with rich wildlife populations, but poor economies. They also argue that commercial hunting provides a strong incentive to manage and safeguard wildlife populations and protect other valuable natural resources from exploitation.
However, I cannot see how those justifications can be used to defend hunters who kill an animal which has been bred in captivity for the specific purpose of being hunted for entertainment. I believe action is needed to stop this sort of exploitation, and to establish how defensible the arguments for conservation hunting are. I am therefore pleased that the Government decided to consult on options to restrict the imports and exports of hunting trophies to the UK - including a potential ban.
This consultation, alongside a call for evidence, will allow ministers to understand the public’s views on all sides of the debate and gather expert evidence to inform any next steps. The consultation closed in February and the responses are now being considered. In addition, I am extremely pleased to see the UK’s world class armed forces providing support to other nations in tackling poaching, with UK troops on the ground teaching the host nation how to combat this, often protecting the most endangered species.
I look forward to a future where trophy hunting is banished for good.