Daily Mail

MPs are told: Beware trophy hunting myths

- By Andy Jehring

most of the claims about trophy hunting put out by animal rights activists are wrong, mPs have been warned ahead of a key vote today.

Conservati­onists say that in the last Commons debate nearly threequart­ers of statements in favour of a blanket ban were questionab­le.

they are battling to correct the ‘simplistic’ narrative championed by celebritie­s.

mPs are due to vote today on a controvers­ial Bill that, in its current form, would see hunters barred from bringing any trophies to the UK.

Experts in wildlife protection fear this will actually have a disastrous impact on endangered animals. they, along with African leaders and grassroots groups, have called on Britain to allow certain trophies to be imported if it is proven the animals were hunted ethically.

they argue that total bans are unsuccessf­ul because they destroy the incentive for farmers to keep big game on their land and earn money from hunters. Revenues from selective hunting keep locals in jobs and also help pay for patrols against poachers, the real enemy of conservati­on.

It is feared that animal rights lobbying groups have fed mPs distorted informatio­n which could see the Bill fly though without proper scrutiny.

Professor Adam Hart of Gloucester­shire University analysed 200 statements made during the Bill’s second reading with fellow conservati­onists Dr Dilys Roe and Professor Amy Dickman. they claim that nearly three- quarters of those made in favour of a total ban were inaccurate.

tory mP Henry smith – who introduced the Bill – said Kenya, which banned trophy hunting in the 1970s, is now ‘an African conservati­on success story’. In fact wildlife numbers there have dropped by around two-thirds, while nearby countries without such bans have not suffered.

similar inaccuraci­es about the correlatio­n between hunting bans and wildlife numbers in other countries – particular­ly Botswana – have also been highlighte­d.

Professor Hart fears politician­s are being ‘fed’ misinforma­tion. ‘It’s worrying because you realise how easy it is for lobby groups to potentiall­y push legislatio­n through without proper scrutiny,’ he said.

‘All of us are desperatel­y trying to get mPs to not make a terrible mistake in thinking that they’re going to help conservati­on by voting for this Bill. What they’re going to be doing is harming conservati­on, but also impoverish­ing communitie­s and potentiall­y damaging habitat and all the other things that go with it.’

the interventi­on comes after dozens of celebritie­s – including Gary Lineker, Dame Joanna Lumley, sir Ranulph Fiennes and sir michael Parkinson – were criticised for signing a letter to the times demanding mPs show up to back the Bill.

Namibian conservati­onist maxi Louis wrote to the newspaper yesterday, asking: ‘What on earth do they know about Africa’s animals, and what right do they have to interfere in our democracie­s?

‘Here we see the impact of hunting. It pays for the antipoachi­ng patrols, which stop animals being slaughtere­d in the most hideous fashion.

‘Poachers poison pregnant big cats and maim thousands of animals of all ages with snares: hunters focus on a few elderly males.’

Conservati­onist Joseph mbaiwa, of the University of Botswana, said: ‘ the ban should not be on all species, it should be selective. otherwise it will kill conservati­on.’

Professor Dickman warned: ‘many thousands of wild animals will die in appalling and indiscrimi­nate ways – far more than are killed in trophy hunting. true, we will no longer see the grinning faces of rich white hunters celebratin­g their kills.

‘Instead, we will see the grinning faces of rich white celebritie­s celebratin­g a “win” that drives more killing.’

 ?? ?? Caring: Keeper with a baby elephant in Kenya, where a hunting ban has harmed wildlife
Caring: Keeper with a baby elephant in Kenya, where a hunting ban has harmed wildlife

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