Scotland’s own Alyn Smith MEP has joined his European colleagues in taking a stand against trophy hunting.
Trophy hunting, where a wild animal is hunted for sport and part of the animal brought back with the hunter as proof of a successful hunt, has been the subject of public controversy for years but achieved greater prominence last year when a lion called Cecil was killed in Zimbabwe by an American dentist. A written declaration from the European Parliament calls for the European Council and Commission to restrict all trophy imports, thereby removing the incentive for tourists to go hunting at all.
Alyn, Honorary Vice President of the Scottish SPCA, said:
“Blood sports have no place in the 21st century but between 2004 and 2013, more than 27,000 trophies from Africa and America were, quite legally, imported into Europe.
“We are seeing progress though. In November 2015, France declared that it would ban the import of lion heads, paws and skins, and Botswana has banned canned hunting completely. Canned hunting is an even more unsportsmanlike version of the hunt, as these animals are hand-reared to lose their natural wariness around humans, and cannot escape the enclosure.
“We have to face up to the fact that this extinction phase is primarily man-made, and so we have a duty to do what we can to preserve these iconic wild creatures. The wild population of lions has plummeted by 60-80% in recent years, more than enough for the Commission to justify using sustainability arguments to block trophy imports. Trophy hunting, quite frankly, is not welcome.
“I went on holiday to San Francisco last year and returned with a perfectly serviceable set of the complete Calvin and Hobbes books. If folk are insistent about bringing home a big cat trophy, I can advise that my version takes up much less space."