Torbay’s MP Kevin Foster joined animal protection groups including HSI/UK and FOUR PAWS UK to voice concern that a popular, Government-backed Bill is at serious risk.
Cross-party MPs and Peers, alongside campaigners from the Coalition Against Trophy & Canned Hunting (CATCH) including animal protection organisations Humane Society International/UK and FOUR PAWS UK, gathered outside Parliament with a giant inflatable lion and giraffe to show their support for the Hunting Trophies (Import Prohibition) Bill.
The politicians and campaigners came together near Old Palace Yard in Westminster to implore the Government to find the necessary time to allow the Bill - a manifesto commitment - to complete its passage into law and protect the tragic victims of trophy hunting.
Over 30 MPs and Peers — including Torbay MP Kevin Foster— were in attendance at the event, which comes after the Bill’s Committee Stage in the House of Lords this week. During the debate, a small group of pro-hunting Peers attempted to kill the Bill by running down time, having tabled over 60 amendments. With a limited number of sitting days until the end of this Parliamentary session, there is now a serious risk there will be insufficient time for the Bill to complete its remaining stages.
Conservative Peer and former Plymouth Sutton MP Baroness Fookes is championing the bill in the House of Lords and led the Bill’s Committee Stage, in which five amendments were discussed. Two votes were called on amendments, which were both lost in the Government’s (and Bill’s) favour.
Torbay MP Kevin Foster said: “Having strongly supported this bill in the House of Commons and served on the Public Bill Committee which considered it, I don’t want to see it lost due to procedural games from a small number in the House of Lords. I was therefore pleased to join colleagues to call for the Government to make time available to ensure this bill is passed.”
Claire Bass, senior director of campaigns and public affairs at Humane Society International/UK, said: “We’ve returned to Parliament today to demonstrate the huge strength of support the Bill has from both cross-party MPs and Peers, and the British public – over 80% of whom back the ban. It’s deeply frustrating that a handful of the Government’s own backbench Peers attempted to gun down the Bill last night with an onslaught of time-wasting amendments. Armed with giant inflatable wildlife, we are calling on the Government not to let animals or the public down, and urgently bring the Bill back to the Lords to deliver the promised hunting trophy import ban.”
Sonul Badiani-Hamment, Country Director at FOUR PAWS UK said: "Today's strong turnout from over 30 MPs and Peers reaffirms the widespread support the Trophy Hunting (Import Prohibition) Bill has from across the political parties.
The purposeful filibustering by a handful of backbencher Peers means that time is running out to discuss the Bill and their myriad of 64 tabled amendments. This is a wasteful course of action, wilfully taken to prevent the Bill from becoming law.
United with elected MPs, who reflect the wishes of the voting public, we urge the Government to immediately make more time for the Bill and to continue pushing it through; they have the will of the nation and Parliament behind them.”
Adam Cruise, acting CEO of the Campaign to Ban Trophy Hunting, said: “As someone who has been in the field for almost two decades, the claim that trophy hunting benefits conservation and community livelihoods is false. The clear evidence on the ground is one of widespread decline of species and increasing levels of poverty throughout Southern Africa. Decades of trophy hunting not only has failed to improve the situation but has made it considerably worse.”