Importation Ban Threatens UK Hunters
- Tuesday, 19 November 2019
What are the Repercussions of the Proposed Imporatation Ban?
By now, either by way of our recent County Deer Stalking mailshot, through Safari Club International or other mediums, you will probably have learned of an effort to fast track an importation ban on many, if not all, hunting trophies into the UK.
As chance has it, the move was announced by my very own MP in Richmond, also the Minister for International Wildlife Zac Goldsmith. Under the new policy, hunters from the UK will no longer be able to bring home heads, skins, or other body parts of wild animals from around the world.
Safari Club International and the UK’s Capreolus Club Chairman Peter Jones, have been in touch with Minister Goldsmith and others outlining its concern over the pending move, along with several recommendations including the essential component of engaging with the environmental ministries of the countries that manage the wildlife that will be affected by a potential ban. It was emphasised that these countries should be consulted in order to fully understand the impact that a UK importation ban will have on the success of their conservation efforts.
Recently 133 wildlife experts, in a letter to 'SCIENCE Magazine', placed scientific evidence over subjective sensitivities to recognise the importance of hunting in wildlife conservation. The authors also advised governments not to take action that would surely undermine existing well-managed hunting programs, they noted that a:
"conservation policy that is not based on science threatens habitat and biodiversity and risks disempowering and impoverishing rural communities."
I feel that it is also worth reminding Zac of the apparent hypocrisy of restricting the manner in which other countries make decisions about the management of their own native game, whilst simultaneously selectively shooting the Red and Fallow Deer in his own backyard in Richmond and Bushy Park.
I ask, is the UK so arrogant as to impose importation bans from other countries around the world, whilst simultaneously tolerating thousands of shooters bringing back Red Stag trophies each year from the Scottish Highlands, or even Roebuck from the Hampshire countryside? Or perhaps this is also no longer to be tolerated.
As anyone with the slightest understanding of how deer managmenet works, will know, placing a value on the largest beasts is in fact an essential means of ensuring that they are not routienly shot as cull animals, however, this simple truth appears to have been missed.
Furthermore, in a climate which is moving steadily away from intensively farmed meat and toward a more climate focused diet, it strikes me as an extremely dangerous move, to reduce the financial viability of native game, and leave landowners with little option other than to replace the un-financially viable native game, with domestic livestock.
You can find details of your MP by following this link: https://www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-and-offices/mps/.
Quick action is essential, and when writing please urge your MP to do the following:
- Listen to the locals who manage the species.
- Understand that revenue from legal hunting is used to fund conservation efforts.
- Recognise that poaching is the real threat.
- Recognise that it is a dangerous move to undermine the financial viability of native game.
I appreciate that for many who do not hunt abroad this may appear an irrelevance, however, if you wish to retain your rights to hunt, you might do well to remember and apply the following familiar lines:
First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out,. Because I was not a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out. Because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out. Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak for me.
Thank you for your support.
James Schneider holds Deer Management Qualifications PDS1 & DSC1 & DSC2 and is a regular contributor to County Deer Stalking.