MPs misinformed on trophy hunting.

Brussels, 1 March 2017 – A briefing paper titled ‘Trophy Hunting: UK and international policy’ by Alison Pratt and David Hirst, provides incorrect information to the Members of Parliament in the UK (MPs) and their staff on policy and sustainability aspects of trophy hunting.

It is not true that EU Member States signed a Written Declaration in January 2016 calling for the examination of the possibility of restricting all import of trophies into the EU.

What really happened in 2016 was that an overwhelming majority of Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) – not EU Member States – chose NOT to support a written declaration with that content.

Importantly, in 2016, the UK Government and the other 27 EU Member States took a unanimous decision, as part of the 183 countries that are parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), to adopt a resolution on trade in hunting trophies in which they:

1) recognise that “well-managed and sustainable trophy hunting is consistent with and contributes to species conservation, as it provides both livelihood opportunities for rural communities and incentives for habitat conservation, and generates benefits which can be invested for conservation purposes”; and

2) recommend that Parties “consider the contribution of hunting to species conservation and socio-economic benefits, and its role in providing incentives for people to conserve wildlife, when considering stricter domestic measures and making decisions relating to the import of hunting trophies”.

The mistakes in the Commons Library Briefing Paper could have been avoided and a more balanced overview of the best available science and opinions on trophy hunting could have been reflected therein, had the authors relied more on peer-reviewed evidence.

It is surprising that the authors relied so heavily on opinion papers from a few animal rights’ organisations that are well-known for having a negative attitude towards trophy hunting.

MPs deserve to be properly briefed on such an important matter for wildlife conservation! In this context, this misinformed briefing paper should be withdrawn and resubmitted with a greater reliance on the existing peer reviewed evidence.

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