Sickening trophy hunting trips to shoot elephants, rhinos and lions in Africa were on sale at the UK’s first ever stalking show.
Nearly 90 exhibitors attended the two-day event. Among the Brits at the Staffordshire County Show cashing in on the bloodthirsty safaris was Venari UK, an agent offering trips to South Africa.
A representative boasted to an undercover investigator: “You can pretty much kill every species, elephant, rhino, lion.”
But he admitted: “I don’t highly push it because that’s the s**t that’s a bit sensitive.”
Another firm, Settlers Safaris, offers trips in Africa. When asked if there is a limit on how many species you can kill, it told an investigator from Humane Society International/UK: “The only limit is how much money you’ve got.”
Venari UK, set up in 2019, is run by Tom Douglas, 31, from Salisbury, Wiltshire. His father Robert has a taxidermy business called R S Douglas & Sons.
A representative for Venari UK admitted some species are kept captive in pens until a client pays to shoot one.
He said: “South Africa lions, they are basically caged lions. You tell them you want to hunt a lion and a few weeks before you go they are gonna throw them out… into a big pen.
“Then when you turn up you’ll sit in a blind and they’ll walk in.”
Speaking of crocodiles, he told how a month before a hunt “they lasso the b * d out of the lake, throw him in the back of the pick-up, tied up, take him up the reservoir.”
The rep also claimed clients can drink booze while out hunting in a safari truck.
And he said animals can be left wounded for days. The Mirror and the Campaign to Ban Trophy Hunting has been campaigning to stop animal skins, heads and carcasses coming into Britain. It was just a footnote in last month’s Queen’s Speech, despite Tory promises to act.
Humane Society International/UK executive director Claire Bass said: “The investigation captured unguarded the grim mentality of British trophy hunt outfitters selling pay-to-slay trips to South Africa.
“From shooting captive bred lions and crocodiles baited for an easy kill, to gunning down animals from a safari truck and even boasting about shooting animals whilst drinking alcohol, the callous attitude of those who get a kick out of killing Africa’s wildlife is sickening.”
CTBTH founder Eduardo Goncalves added: “Nine out of 10 voters want a ban now. But it’s been three years since the Government promised to do something. Hundreds more animals have died since.”
Mr Douglas insisted money from the hunts boosted wildlife conservation in Africa.
He denied claims crocodiles were kept in pens, adding: “Some unscrupulous companies may hunt like this, the vast majority including Venari would not.
“Some animals are or may have been in the past baited by other companies, this certainly does not mean Venari would either do or condone it.”
And on allegations animals are left wounded, he insisted: “No responsible hunter deliberately lets animals suffer and are often called upon to humanely despatch injured animals.” Settlers Safaris did not respond.
This article by Nada Farhoud was first published by The Mirror on 23 June 2022. Lead Image: Lions can be ‘thrown in a pen’ to be shot at if you have enough money ( Image: Getty Images/Mint Images RF).
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