THE EU is to revise its rules on the import of hunting ‘trophies’ from Africa after Green MEPs Jean Lambert (London) and Keith Taylor (South East England) wrote to the European Commission earlier this year to highlight the growing practise of ‘canned hunting’ – in which lions are kept in captivity for tourists to shoot.
In March they asked the European Commission to ban the import into the EU of any such trophies, which have increased in popularity since hunting lions and other endangered wildlife has been outlawed in many countries.
According to UK-based charity Lion Aid, as many as 8,000 lions are being bred in captivity for holiday-makers to shoot with bows and arrows and even pistols in South Africa alone.
Environment Commissioner Janez Potocnik has confirmed that the current rules on wildlife imports, based on the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), don’t go far enough – and that the EU is developing tougher new rules.
In a letter to Ms Lambert, Mr Potocnik said: “…in cases where there are concerns about the sustainability of lion hunting in certain exporting countries, those new rules would give the possibility to the Commission to suspend imports of lion hunting trophies into the EU.”
Ms Lambert welcomed the decision, which she said she hoped would mean an end to so-called canned hunting, which she called “an abhorrent and sordid piece of animal cruelty”.
She said: “While it is mainly happening outside the EU we can’t directly put a stop to it, but we can ban the import of any such ‘trophies’ that result to discourage EU holiday-makers from taking part in this unacceptably-cruel activity.
“We must try to stop the breeding of mammals simply for holiday-makers to kill for fun: I am glad the Commission agrees that we should be banning the import of these ‘trophies’.”