A sick couple kiss to celebrate killing a magnificent lion in a vile reminder of the blood lust in trophy hunting.
They call it sport. Lions and other magnificent beasts are corralled in a confined area and then slaughtered by paying customers.
Hunters are then allowed to bring the body parts back to the UK to be flaunted as sick trophies of their kills.
Today the Daily Mirror is calling for an end to the barbaric practice of trophy hunting in a campaign backed by politicians, celebrities and activists.
We are demanding the Government put an immediate ban on the import of animals shot for pleasure.
We also want an end to canned hunting – confining wild animals on small reserves just so they can be shot dead for a price.
Our campaign calls for a change in international rules so that animals slaughtered by trophy hunters are no longer exempt from strict controls on the trade, import and export of endangered species.
And we want greater protection for giraffes, whose numbers have declined dramatically due to hunting and poaching.
The Mirror’s End Trophy Hunting demand is being backed by celebrities, MPs, peers and conservation charities.
ITV star Lorraine Kelly said: “I’m appalled and disgusted by this so-called ‘sport’. I’ve been lucky enough to visit Africa many times and see these beautiful wild animals. I’d like my grandchildren to be able to do the same some day.
“I’m a supporter of the Campaign to Ban Trophy Hunting and I think it’s really great that the Daily Mirror is launching this campaign. It has my full support.”
The world woke up to the horrific practice of trophy hunting in 2015 when Cecil the lion was shot by American dentist Walter Palmer.
But more than 1,000 lions are still killed every year, along with thousands of bears and hundreds of elephants, rhinos and crocodiles.
In the past decade, trophy hunters have imported 2,500 animal parts into the UK, including the heads and furs from cheetahs, elephants, lions, hippos and zebras.
Campaigners warn the cruel trade must be outlawed at a time when species are already facing the risk of extinction.
The elephant population has fallen from 1.3million to around 400,000.
Giraffes are especially at risk as they are still not classified as an endangered species. Their population has fallen by 40% in the past 30 years.
Since 2009 more than 20,000 giraffe bone carvings have been exported from Africa as well as approximately 7,000 skins and other giraffe-hunting trophies.
The Government announced in 2017 that it was in favour of a ban on trophy hunting but has failed to take any action.
This is despite calls from over 166 MPs for a ban as a “matter of urgency”.
Amazingly, despite the increasing threat to many species, there is a loophole allowing the movement of hunting trophies in the international agreement on animal protection.
The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species bans the trade, import and export of the body parts of endangered animals, other than in exceptional circumstances.
But animals killed by trophy hunters are exempt from these rules.
Eduardo Goncalves of the Campaign to Ban Trophy Hunting said: “Trophy hunting is an abomination. The fact that we have so many hunting trophies coming into Britain each year is a stain on our nation’s reputation.
“How can we claim to be a nation of animal lovers when we allow this colonial hangover to carry on?
“British trophy hunters shoot hippos, leopards, zebras, bears, and even primates such as monkeys and baboons for fun.
“It’s sickening to think that the law then allows these people to bring their macabre souvenirs back into the country with them. British trophy hunters love to shoot lions.
“Almost every single lion shot by a British hunter now comes from one of these disgusting lion ‘factory farms’ dotted around South Africa.
“It is like shooting a zoo animal. These are tame animals born and bred in captivity.
“There’s nothing sporting about trophy hunting, but ‘canned hunting’ is surely the lowest of the low.”
Actress Joanna Lumley also backs our campaign. She said: “All trophy hunting is despicable; those who kill for pleasure are to be despised. What kind of sick, cruel, vain, ridiculous cowards are they, ‘tracking’ and killing drugged animals for pleasure? And when that person gets home, with the heads and carcasses, who are the people who think such killers are brave, fine, or in any way praiseworthy?”
Labour peer Angela Smith added: “It’s appalling in this day and age that people still think it’s OK to abuse, hunt, kill and display dead animals just for amusement and entertainment.
“Congratulations to the Daily Mirror for launching this campaign to bring an end to this barbaric practice which should be banned in a civilised society.”
Environment Secretary Michael Gove believes trophy hunting “provokes profound moral and ethical questions about the way we treat animals”, said the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. It added: “Any policy decisions must be based on robust evidence.
“The Secretary of State will hold further discussions on this critical issue to ensure we find the right solutions.”
This article was first published by The Mirror on 14 July 2019.
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