This week the United Kingdom’s (U.K.) Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) announced their Animal Welfare Action Plan containing new proposals that threaten how, when, and where Britons can legally hunt. Among other potential harms, implementation of these proposals will detrimentally impact the conservation programs of countries effectively conserving the world’s largest populations of some species such as elephants, lions, and rhinos.
Safari Club International (SCI) strongly opposes these proposals in the Action Plan, which are unsupported by scientific evidence and will harm wildlife conservation efforts in and outside of the U.K.:
- Banning the importation of legally hunted and harvested “endangered” wildlife, which are already strictly regulated by domestic and international laws. Affected species are stable or increasing in the African countries where they are hunted. Numerous scientific studies show such bans have negative impacts on species conservation, and testimonies from African wildlife officials in opposition to this proposal reinforce the negative impact that a ban will have on rural communities that are trying to recover lost revenue from a tourism industry that crashed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Prohibiting the advertising of certain “unacceptable” animal-related practices, possibly including hunting, that are lawful wherever they may take place. This could silence hunters’ voices and negatively impact hunting opportunities abroad, further damaging African countries’ ability to incorporate hunting into conservation efforts.
- Investigate restricting the use of lead ammunition in an effort to eventually phase it out. A blanket, non-environment specific ban on lead ammo would drastically reduce the pool of individuals who can afford to hunt. Non-lead ammunition is difficult to find and significantly more expensive, ultimately creating price barriers for the world’s hunters.
“SCI is a global organization because a threat to the right to hunt in one country is a threat to hunters everywhere. While the Action Plan promotes ideals which we share, like fair chase, ethical treatment of animals, and organic food sources, SCI condemns the U.K.’s specific proposals to implement bans on practices that are essential to the conservation of wildlife and citizens’ reasonable right to hunt,” said SCI CEO W. Laird Hamberlin in response to this week’s news coming out of the U.K. “Moreover, U.K politicians must understand that import ban proposals present a danger to the sustainability of species in Africa and burdens the livelihoods of vulnerable African communities.”