UK Parliament passes law on trophy hunting

A planned law to ban the importation of hunting trophies into the UK was passed by the UK Parliament on Friday despite criticism from conservationists in South Africa who accused it of being counterproductive.

British lawmakers have voted in favor of legislation aimed at protecting endangered animals and has received the support of celebrities, including model Kate Moss and football presenter Gary Lineker.

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It will now be scrutinized by the upper house of parliament before it becomes law.

Controversial trophy hunt

Trophy hunting, where hunters sometimes pay thousands of dollars for the right to kill normally large animals such as elephants and lions, has long been controversial.

Critics say shooting wild animals for fun is cruel, wasteful, and pushes endangered species closer to extinction.

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Hunters often bring home animal parts such as skulls, skins, tusks, or claws as trophies.

But many communities and government officials in southern Africa oppose the ban.

“The UK is forcing its very urban, clean thinking on us,” said Chris Brown, head of the Namibian Chamber of Environment (NCE).

Negative influence

In a letter to British Development and Africa Secretary Andrew Mitchell earlier this month, dozens of conservationists and public figures from Botswana, Angola, Zambia and Namibia warned that the law would backfire.

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“With decreasing income from trophy hunting, poaching will increase because there will be less funds to pay salaries to public guards,” the letter says.

“We feel like this is another way to re-colonize Africa.”

The British make up a small proportion of trophy hunters in southern Africa.

According to the Humane Society International 2021 report by the animal rights organization Humane Society International, the majority of hunters in South Africa hail from the United States, with the UK not even in the top ten of the list.