European Union and Trophy Hunting Update

The ‘Written Declaration on Trophy Hunting’ (03/2016, dated 18 January 2016) was explained in a 3rd March 2016 IWB article – the Written Declaration (initiated by Neena Gill MEP) was submitted by a leading group of MEPs* calling on the European Council and Commission to ensure adherence to the EU’s own Wildlife Trade Regulations (WTR).

The 18 April vote on this Written Declaration revealed that 134 MEPs supported it. This is a very  encouraging sign, that EU member states are picking up on public sentiment, that Trophy Hunting belongs to a bygone ‘colonial’ era – it’s time to evolve and develop a much more stringent and comprehensive approach to the whole subject of trophy imports.

The support of more MEPs would have been welcomed of course, but EU member states’/MEP’s voting is a complex ‘political’ stage that should not be simplified into simplistic analysis/assumptions…….There is hope that the relative success of this Written Declaration’s momentum will carry over to concerted EU proposals for CITES CoP17 in September 2016.

The Netherlands has already started to move ahead, with an 28 April 2016  announcement by Dutch Secretary of State for Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality, Martijn Van Dam that lion trophy imports will no longer be allowed into the country (with a ban on importing over 200 species of animals including rhino, elephant, cheetah, hippo and polar bear, following the lead set by fellow EU member, France).

The Netherlands Flag

Well done The Netherlands, hopefully the United Kingdom will not continue to lag much further behind!

* MEPs Neena Gill (S&D, UK), Catherine Bearder (ALDE, UK), Sirpa Pietikäinen (EPP, FI), Kathleen Van Brempt (S&D, BE), Eva Kaili(S&D, GR), Stefan Eck (GUE/NGL, DE), Miriam Dalli (S&D, MT), Seb Dance (S&D, UK), Jonás Fernández (S&D, UK), Victor Negrescu (S&D, RO), Bart Staes (Greens/EFA, BE)

Additional Notes

The Written Declaration on Trophy Hunting sought to “Ensure that species listed within the EU’s Wildlife Trade Regulations (WTR) under Annex B” are not hunted “detrimental to populations of any of the species.” Furthermore, for any species listed under the EU’s WTR Annex A, it must be shown that the hunting of the given Annex A species “benefited the conservation of Annex A species.” – The Written Declaration concludes that these criteria are “rarely adequately determined.

According to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) trade database, in the decade to 2013 EU Member States declared imports of more than 117,000 trophy items derived from at least 87 different animal genera listed on the CITES appendices. These included more than 14,500 items derived from African elephants. Other commonly targeted species included hippopotamus (14,205), American black bear (12,077), leopard (4,016) and African lion (3,308).

While hunting trophy imports were declared by all EU Member States, the heaviest importing country was Spain (21,798), followed by Germany (19,079), France (12,333) and Italy (11,499).

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