Like countless constituents, protecting animals and enhancing animal welfare means a great deal to me and I appreciate the strength of feeling around this issue. Around a million animal and plant species are threatened with extinction and the abundance, diversity and connectivity of species is declining faster than at any time in human history.
Both Ministers and I take the welfare of all animals extremely seriously and are committed to strengthening and supporting long-term conservation of animals, internationally and at home.
I was fortunate to be able to help deliver the world leading Ivory Act during my time as the Government Whip at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which enforced a near total ban on the import, export and dealing of items containing elephant ivory. More information about the Ivory Act can be found here: https://www.mimsdavies.org.uk/news/world-leading-ivory-act-effective-today
In 2019, the Government held a consultation on the scale and impact of the import and export of hunting trophies. Over 44,000 responses to the call for evidence and consultation were received and 85 per cent of responses were in favour of further action. The Government’s response to the consultation set out plans to ban imports of hunting trophies from thousands of endangered and threatened species.
The Hunting Trophies (Import Prohibition) Bill was introduced to Parliament as a Private Member’s Bill in June 2022. The Government fully supports this Bill, which will ban the import of hunting trophies from around 6,000 species, including lions, elephants, rhinos, and polar bears, delivering a key manifesto commitment on international conservation and animal welfare.
My ministerial colleagues and I were, therefore, disappointed that despite the overwhelming support from MPs and the public, this Bill failed to progress through Committee stage in the House of Lords in the last parliamentary session. You can access the Lords’ debate here: Hunting Trophies (Import Prohibition) Bill - Hansard - UK Parliament
I understand that accepting the amendments proposed by Peers would have undermined the Government’s important commitment in this area.
I am aware of the campaign in relation to the King’s Speech and trophy hunting. While I have noted your comments about this issue, I would like to assure you that the Government remains committed to delivering on the manifesto pledge to ban the import of hunting trophies, and Ministers will continue to explore ways to bring this forward. I will continue to monitor this closely.