Wildlife “trophy hunters” should continue to be able to bring parts of endangered animals into the UK, North Herefordshire MP Sir Bill Wiggin has argued.

In a Commons debate on Friday, Sir Bill was a lone voice arguing against the Hunting Trophies (Import Prohibition) Bill.

The bill’s sponsor, Conservative MP for Crawley Henry Smith, said British trophy hunters “are among the world’s most active killers of endangered species”, who “in recent years, have imported thousands of body parts as macabre souvenirs” – the most popular being parts of elephants, hippos, leopards, zebras and lions.


But Sir Bill said: “We cannot expect people in rural Africa to have the same views on this subject as the voters in, say, Crawley.

“That is why telling Africans how to manage their wildlife is fundamentally wrong, post-colonial and possibly racist.”

In a lengthy speech, he praised official hunting programmes in Africa as “well-regulated and legal”, and which “protect habitat and work to support conservation”.

He added: “I have had contact with African community leaders and conservationists who do not support the UK Bill to ban UK imports of hunting trophies.

“They rightly argue that it is not for us in the West to decide how they should manage their wildlife, and that is why I cannot endorse this Bill.”

His Conservative colleague Laura Farris later responded: “I do not recognise that characterisation; it is not a true one, and I regret that he is not in his place to hear me say that.”

She said that with this and other Government initiatives, “animal welfare will be in a completely different position by the time this Parliament ends”.

Sir Roger Gale, another Conservative, claimed: “Very little, if any, of the funds find their way into the pockets of the ordinary people of Africa, or indeed of any other country.

“We are talking about gratification of the most revolting kind, which I would compare with paedophilia.”

Environment minister Rebecca Pow said: “I am pleased to confirm that the Government are supporting the Bill and that we are determined to fulfil our manifesto commitment to ban the imports of trophies from endangered animals.”

The Bill passed its second reading and will now go to the committee stage. It will then receive a third reading in the Commons before passing though the House of Lords, where further amendments may be made.

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