Britain Tells Its Big Game Hunters to Piss Off

Bringing banned animal trophies home could soon result in a five-year prison sentence.

Andrew Deer/Getty Images

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.

This story was originally published by the Guardian and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.

Britons who kill endangered animals abroad for fun will not be able to bring their hunting trophies home, the government has announced.

The proposed law will prevent big game hunters from bringing home body parts of 7,000 species including lions, rhinos, elephants and polar bears. It comes two years after the government pledged to introduce a ban.

The environment secretary, George Eustice, said the measure was expected to be one of the toughest in the world and would go beyond the government’s manifesto commitment by including near-threatened and threatened species as well as endangered ones.

“We will be leading the way in protecting endangered animals and helping to strengthen and support long-term conservation,” he said.

The ban will apply whether or not a trophy has been obtained from a wild animal or one bred in captivity specifically for the purpose of trophy hunting. Breaching the rules could land hunters in prison for up to five years.

In the past two years about 300 trophies from endangered animals have been shipped to the UK, according to the Campaign to Ban Trophy Hunting.

The campaign’s founder, Eduardo Gonçalves, noted that the government had not specified a timetable for implementing the legislation.

He said: “The bill, as far as we’ve seen, looks to be in pretty good shape, but it has been two years since it was originally announced in the Queen’s speech, and many animals have been cruelly and needlessly killed in that time. So it is really imperative for the government to bring the bill to parliament as quickly as possible.”

Gonçalves said ministers had told him the bill could come to parliament next spring or summer, by which time “potentially another 100 or more animals will be killed and their trophies brought back to Britain”.

He said: “Delay costs lives: every week that goes by without this ban means more animals, including endangered species, are being shot by British hunters, and their trophies brought back to the country. Some of these species are careering towards extinction, and certainly the British public are very strongly opposed to trophy hunting.”

Boris Johnson has called trophy hunting a “disgusting trade”, and his father, Stanley Johnson, has campaigned extensively in favour of a ban.

Plans for a law banning hunting trophies were prompted by the shooting of Cecil the lion in 2015 by an American dentist, Walter Palmer, at a reserve in Zimbabwe.

In 2019 the government consulted on plans for a ban, which received overwhelming public support.

TIME IS RUNNING OUT!

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and it's truly crunch time: About 15 percent of our yearly online giving usually comes in during the final week of the year, and in "No Cute Headlines or Manipulative BS," we explain why we simply can't afford to come up short right now.

The bottom line: Corporations and powerful people with deep pockets will never sustain the type of journalism Mother Jones exists to do. And advertising or profit-driven ownership groups will never make time-intensive, in-depth reporting viable.

That's why donations big and small make up 74 percent of our budget this year. There is no backup to keep us going, no alternate revenue source, no secret benefactor. If readers don’t donate, we won’t be here. It's that simple.

And if you can help us out with a donation right now, all online gifts will be matched thanks to an incredibly generous matching gift pledge.

payment methods

TIME IS RUNNING OUT!

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and it's truly crunch time: About 15 percent of our yearly online giving usually comes in during the final week of the year, and in "No Cute Headlines or Manipulative BS," we explain why we simply can't afford to come up short right now.

The bottom line: Corporations and powerful people with deep pockets will never sustain the type of journalism Mother Jones exists to do. And advertising or profit-driven ownership groups will never make time-intensive, in-depth reporting viable.

That's why donations big and small make up 74 percent of our budget this year. There is no backup to keep us going, no alternate revenue source, no secret benefactor. If readers don’t donate, we won’t be here. It's that simple.

And if you can help us out with a donation right now, all online gifts will be matched thanks to an incredibly generous matching gift pledge.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate