By Erin Gaskell, The Westmorland Gazette
An MPs campaign to stop British hunters bringing home ‘trophies’ of endangered animals has won the support of legendary conservationist Jane Goodall and record-breaking explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes.
A recent cross-party committee report found British trophy hunters have brought home 5,000 trophies of threatened species in recent years. Lions, elephants, hippos and zebras are among the most popular animals. Others shot and brought into the UK include polar bears, giraffes, cheetahs, rhinos and monkeys.
A bill to prohibit trophy hunters’ souvenirs is currently going through Parliament. An opinion poll by Survation found 86 per cent of voters are in favour of the ban, with just 2 per cent against.
Barrow and Furness MP Simon Fell said: “It was such an honour to meet Jane Goodall earlier this week after speaking in favour of Henry Smith’s fantastic bill to ban the import of hunting trophies into the UK last Friday.
“As I said in Parliament at the time, many Furness residents have written to me expressing their passion for this Bill to succeed.
“By banning hunting trophies, we can send a strong message to the rest of the world that the UK does not tolerate the killing of iconic species such as rhinos, lions and elephants by a very small minority for recreation alone.
“Animals should not be managed to be hunted, with the excuse of them continuing to exist as the argument. We should sustain habitats, enable biodiversity, and create environments where they can thrive, rather than ones in which they are not effectively wild any more, unable to fend for themselves without humans or are in a waiting room for a hunter to bag an easy shot so they have something to go above the mantelpiece.
“The Bill is the right and moral thing for us to do. I am very glad to support my Honourable Friend the Member for Crawley on this excellent Bill.”
Ranulph Fiennes said: “I wholeheartedly support Simon’s campaign to stop British trophy hunters bringing home the sick souvenirs of animals they kill for fun. Trophy hunting is barbaric and cowardly. It is also sheer madness when so much of the world’s wildlife is under threat.”
Goodall said: “I have struggled to get into the mind of someone who can behave like this. We are supposed to be a nation of animal lovers and yet we have these people, so what is motivating them? How can they feel pride?”