Trophy imports ban ‘not on government timetable’
The Tory politician pushing through the ban on trophy imports admits it is not in the Government’s timetable.
Fears among animal rights extremists that a trophy imports ban bill will not go in front of MPs at Westminster appear to be true if Zac Goldsmith, DEFRA minister and old Etonian friend of prime minister Boris Johnson, is to be believed.
Goldsmith started by telling the BBC’s flagship Radio 4 Today programme, “It’s not the biggest issue in terms of individual species.”
Goldsmith, whose family recently funded Boris and Carrie Johnson’s Marbella holiday, has been pushing for a trophy imports bill since he successfully had it added to the 2019 Conservative party manifesto. That manifesto was the most anti-hunting manifesto out of all the major parties at the 2019 general election, including the Green Party.
In the Today interview, Goldsmith said: “I would love to be able to give you a date. I can’t because it is not for me to do that.”
The watered-down ban on trophy imports is likely no longer to ban trophy exports. That’s a relief for Scottish deerstalkers, who produce an estimated 20,000 sets of antlers for grateful clients every season.
However, if it does go in front of parliament, Goldsmith promises “no exemptions” – a reference to the US version which President Donald Trump brought in and later repealed. The American law included exemptions for hunts in overseas locations that can prove ‘conservation’ to US civil servants. Most bodies engaged in active conservation agree the UK bill in its present form will damage environmental initiatives in countries outside the UK.
The BBC interviewed Zac Goldsmith on 31 December 2021, because it hired chimpanzee expert Jane Goodall to edit its Today radio show. Goodall asked the BBC reporter to press Goldsmith on a date, reflecting fears by the extremist organisation the Campaign to Ban Trophy Hunting that the government has quietly shelved the trophy imports provision in the proposed bill over conservation worries, and accusations that the bill represents neo-colonialism of African countries, with the British still trying to impose rules on its former empire.
Goodall reacted gloomily to Goldsmith’s interview. “I hope it happens as early as possible,” she says. “The government has been promising this for over six months. There’s a big splash in the news that Britain leads the way in banning trophies, and then nothing happens. Nothing happens.”
Goldsmith tried to reduce expectations about the bill in his interview. “It is not a trophy hunting bill,” he said. It is a broader bill… it is an ‘animals abroad’ bill.
“It will be coming in as soon as I can negotiate a slot in parliament.”
Goldsmith is seen as one of two people close to the prime minister who have an animal rights agenda. The other is Carrie Johnson, the prime minster’s wife, who has a job as public relations officer for two zoos in Kent. She recently announced the transport of 13 elephants from Kent to Kenya, to help shore up the population of the African country’s 37,000 elephants.
During the Today progamme, Goodall lashed out at zoos and wildlife attractions: “People think of animals as mere commodities. That isn’t the case and science has now proved that so many animals with whom we share the planet are sentient beings,” though she did not go further and explain what she means by ‘sentient’.
Goodall recently wrote the forward to a book by Eduardo Goncalves from the Campaign to Ban Trophy Hunting, where she misrepresented hunting tourism. See our interview here