Campaigners against trophy hunting are furious over the Queen’s Speech. The government promised a ban on trophy hunting imports, but the legislation was absent from the annual address. It’s left one campaigner describing the situation as a “Groundhog Day”.
The Conservative government pledged to end trophy hunting imports in its 2019 election manifesto. Three years later, however, and the legislation is yet to materialise. And it was again absent from the Queen’s Speech on 10 May.
Anti-trophy hunting and animal welfare campaigners expressed dismay at its absence. Eduardo Gonçalves of the Campaign to Ban Trophy Hunting told the Mirror that the missing legislation felt like “Groundhog Day” after the promise failed to materialise every year since 2019. He went on to say:
“Every week that goes by means more lions, elephants, giraffes and other endangered animals murdered by monsters who just like killing animals for kicks.
“...if it wants to regain the trust of the British people, the Government has to get on with it.”
Meanwhile, Humane Society International UK said the speech showed “no progress” on the ban and described that as a “betrayal of animals”. And the Animal Welfare Party said the absence of any firm commitment was ‘shameful’.
However, a commitment to ban trophy hunting imports is present in the documents accompanying the speech. Near the end of the briefing notes, the government reiterates that it is “committed to legislation to ban the import of hunting trophies from thousands of species”. Tory MP Roger Gale bolstered this on Twitter, saying “the Secretary of State has told [him] personally that the bill will be introduced”.
The absence of trophy hunting import legislation wasn’t the worst of it, though. Other elements of the Animals Abroad Bill were missing entirely. These included, most notably, previous commitments to banning the importation of fur and foie gras. Animal Equality UK said there was “bitter disappointment” over the outcome, a sentiment echoed by other animal rights figures such as Animal Aid and Emma Slawinski, the RSPCA’s director of policy.
Government plans to drop the fur and foie gras promises were reported earlier this year. In February, BBC News said the decision came as a result of “cabinet opposition”. It cited Brexit minister Jacob Rees-Mogg in particular as opposing any such legislation on the grounds of defending consumer choice. There were also reportedly concerns about how authorities could enforce such laws.
Despite the government kicking trophy hunting import legislation into the long grass, the Campaign to Ban Trophy Hunting is undeterred. It is asking people to continue pressuring their MPs and letting the group know of any responses.
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