Skip to main content

Endangered Species: Hunting Trophies

Volume 612: debated on Thursday 7 July 2016

2. What steps the Government are taking to prevent hunting trophies from threatened or endangered species being imported to the UK. (905714)

The Government are absolutely clear that we will not allow the import of trophies from critically endangered species when it is unsustainable—tigers, for example. We have also increased the protection and controls on six other species, ranging from elephants to polar bears. We remain absolutely committed to banning the import of lion trophies unless we have significant improvements in lion conservation.

I thank the Minister for that answer and the general thrust of it. Does he agree, however, that it is morally wrong to kill the most endangered species merely to put a trophy on the wall, and that it would make sense to look to ban more widely the importation of those trophies that come from the most endangered categories?

I agree absolutely. All hon. Members would agree strongly that, if a species is critically endangered, it is not suitable to be hunted, let alone put on a wall as a trophy. We will look closely at scientific evidence across the range of endangered species. It will be extremely relevant to focus on that, with September and October being the time for the CITES conference in Johannesburg.

Australia and France have both banned the use and import of lion products. What do they know that the Minister refuses to act upon?

We are looking closely at what Australia and France are doing. We have been working on a common EU-US position in order to change practices in Africa. It makes a huge difference that we do this together as 700 million people in the EU and the US rather than trying to do it individually.

Following the EU referendum vote, we have no idea how the EU action plan against wildlife trafficking will be implemented by the UK Government. Is the Minister in a position to provide any assurances to the House today?

As my colleague the Minister of State has pointed out, the details of our position in relation to Europe will have to be determined by a future Prime Minister, but we played a very active role in drafting that plan and pushing for its contents. The hon. Lady will see in what we are doing in Vietnam our commitment to that plan. I reassure her that, certainly as long as I am in this position, the UK’s position is absolutely unequivocal.