Safari Club International (SCI) strongly opposes many of the proposals in the current animal welfare Action Plan being considered in the United Kingdom (UK), proposals which are unsupported by scientific evidence and will harm wildlife conservation efforts inside and outside of the U.K. SCI will continue to monitor the proposals as they make their way through the political process and will continue to promote the science behind hunting and conservation as winning strategies for wildlife.
“SCI is a global organization because a threat to the right to hunt in one country is a threat to hunters everywhere,” said SCI CEO W. Laird Hamberlin. “While the Action Plan promotes ideas which we share, like the fair chase, ethical treatment of animals, and organic food sources, SCI condemns the UK’s specific proposals to implement bans on practices that are essential to the conservation of wildlife and citizens’ reasonable right to hunt.”
Hamberlin continued, “Moreover, UK politicians must understand that import ban proposals present a danger to the sustainability of species in Africa and burden the livelihoods of vulnerable African communities.”
When he campaigned for office, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson pledged to craft a new law defining animals as “sentient beings.” In effect, the UK government would then have to take into account the feelings of these “sentient beings.” Johnson got his wish with the Animal Welfare (Sentience) Bill currently under consideration in the UK Parliament.
The UK is also contemplating a trophy import ban on endangered and critically endangered species and is considering using the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List. This is a database of extinction risks for species across the world. As the list currently stands, the trophy import ban could include at least 15 species, many trophies of which have been brought into the UK since 2005.
The UK is notorious for “animal welfare” legislation and has close cooperation between the national media and animal rights radicals. If enacted, the Animal Welfare and trophy import ban legislation will have drastic effects on African communities and wildlife by reducing the benefits of managed trophy hunting. Hunters across the globe not only have the deepest respect for wildlife but are also the largest contributors to conservation.
Animal rights activists, and now the British government, have missed the big picture and will end up hurting the animals they claim to protect. The United Kingdom and conservationists everywhere should support SCI and work with, not against, hunters to create the best future for local communities, remaining wilderness, and wildlife.