Thank you for contacting me about trophy hunting.
I truly believe that as sentient beings who can experience fear and pain, all animals should be treated with thought and care. Trophy hunting involves pursuing another animal in conditions which causes stress, fear and pain, with hunters killing as a form of entertainment, not for food, to control pests or to protect other species.
I understand there are arguments for conservation hunting. Some individuals and organisations make the case for conservation hunting as a way of bringing income into countries with rich wildlife populations, but poor economies. They also argue that commercial hunting provides a strong incentive to manage and safeguard wildlife populations and protect other valuable natural resources from exploitation. I also recognise that occasionally there is a need to cull some species to keep nature in balance and the control of predators to protect other species.
However, I cannot see how those justifications can be used to defend hunters who kill an animal which has been bred in captivity for the specific purpose of being hunted for entertainment. I believe action is needed to stop this sort of exploitation, and to establish how defensible the arguments for conservation hunting are. I am therefore pleased that the Government decided to consult on options to restrict the imports and exports of hunting trophies to the UK - including a potential ban.
This consultation on controls on the import and export of hunting trophies, which closed in February 2020, was the first step in fulfilling this commitment and provided an opportunity for respondents to offer views on which species they considered needed further restrictions. I understand that the COVID-19 pandemic has delayed the publication of the Government response to the recent consultation and call for evidence on controls on the import and export of hunting trophies. However, Ministers are continuing to work on this important area and will publish a response as soon as they are able to do so.