Fury as it’s revealed a ban on trophy hunting imports approved by MPs won’t apply in Northern Ireland, allowing Ulster to become a ‘backdoor’ into Britain
- DUP MP was offended that N. Ireland is exempt despite 86 per cent of people supporting the ban across the UK
- The loophole means that big game hunters could fly into Belfast with body parts before crossing Irish Sea
A law to ban trophy hunting imports was approved by MPs yesterday – but the move quickly descended into farce as it emerged the rules will not apply to Northern Ireland.
Experts had warned the plans will actually have a disastrous impact on endangered animals.
And now DUP MPs have claimed the Bill is drastically undermined by the fact Ulster would become a ‘backdoor’ for big game hunters to bring souvenirs into Britain.
It means they could fly into Belfast with a hoard of body parts before simply crossing the Irish Sea. The loophole is made possible because Northern Ireland was left behind in the European Union’s single market after Brexit.
The Hunting Trophies (Import Prohibition) Bill was put forward by Tory MP Henry Smith. During a debate, DUP MP Sammy Wilson said: ‘To find a law which is supported by over 86 per cent of the UK population cannot apply in one part of the UK is offensive.
Pictured: Cecil, one of Zimbabwe’s most famous lions, who was reportedly shot dead by US hunter Walter Palmer. DUP MPs have claimed the Bill is drastically undermined by the fact Ulster would become a ‘backdoor’ for big game hunters to bring souvenirs into Britain
‘It’s offensive to me and it’s offensive to millions of constituents who wrote to me asking me to support this legislation.’ Experts in wildlife protection fear the Bill will actually have a disastrous impact on endangered animals.
They, along with African leaders and grassroots groups, have called on Britain to allow certain trophies to be imported if it is proven the animals were hunted ethically.
Revenues from selective hunting keep locals in jobs and fund patrols against poachers, the real enemy of conservation. The plans would ban the import of 6,000 endangered species including elephants, rhinos and leopards.
Environment minister Trudy Harrison hailed the legislation, which will now be scrutinised in the House of Lords. ‘Cecil the lion has not died in vain,’ she said, referring to the lion which was shot by an American dentist in Zimbabwe in 2015 in a case that sparked global outrage.
The Hunting Trophies (Import Prohibition) Bill was put forward by Tory MP Henry Smith
But Tory peer Lord Mancroft said: ‘It’s clear that this Bill evaded any meaningful scientific scrutiny or expert challenge as it was raced through the Commons. We’re determined that won’t be the case in the House of Lords.’
Professor Amy Dickman, a conservation expert from Oxford University, said: ‘It is bitterly disappointing MPs have succumbed to an emotive but misinformed animal rights campaign. This Bill will kill more animals than it will save.’
Maxi Pia Louis, director of conservation body Nacso, said: ‘We are immensely disappointed Africa’s voice has not been heard. This Bill will make African communities poorer for many years to come.’
A spokesman for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said ‘imports to Northern Ireland will continue to be carefully scrutinised’.
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