Members will be aware that the UK Government has launched a consultation on possible changes to regulations affecting the import and export of hunting trophies: https://consult.defra.gov.uk/wildlife-management/trophy-hunting-consultation
It is clear that this consultation is not about the ethics of trophy hunting per se but concentrates on the implications of trophy hunting in terms of conservation. Most of it is indeed focused on the implications of permitting 'trade' [import-export] of such trophies. It is clear however that changes to the regulations may have significant effect on the economics of many deer management programmes in this country which let some of that management cull to foreign hunters and that further, restriction of that trade might have significant implications for welfare of deer if management culls in the future were less selective or had reduced economic value. It is probably true that if we put an economic value on something we take more care of it.
The Board has discussed a formal Society response which we will be submitting in due course, but it is apparent that many members may wish to respond to the consultation individually. The consultation focuses on the selection of options for the future [Question 8, below]. The Board will be recommending as the first choice, option 4 [No change] and as second choice: Option 1 [A ban on trophies of certain species]. We have selected this course for the second option in order to highlight the biosecurity risk associated with the importation of trophies from certain species in relation to the possible spread of diseases of economic importance such as African Swine Fever and Chronic Wasting disease.
You can pdf read a draft of the redacted version of our Board submission here (72 KB) , but we have deliberately chosen not to include our full response: as it would weaken our case and that of each individual submission if these were all seen by scrutineers to be identical ‘carbon-copies’ of a single response. Thus we encourage members to tailor the detail of their own responses so that each counts as an individual vote.
Please note that respondents are asked to sect two options for the future – a first and second choice. You are advised that you should do so; there is always the possibility that if you don’t do as requested your submission will be discounted. Indeed, it is important, if you wish your ‘vote’ to be counted that you follow ALL instructions absolutely so that there can be no grounds for discounting your submission (as if it were a ‘spoiled ballot paper’). The form must be completed online but we summarise the actual questions with which you will be faced, below.
As noted, a redacted copy of the Board’s agreed response will be posted shortly on the BDS website. We would urge you to recommend Option 4 with Option 1 as the second choice (this last on the grounds of biosecurity measures).
Question 1: What is your name?
Question 2: What is your email address?
Question 3: What is your organisation? If you're replying as an individual, please type 'individual'.
Question 4: Would you like your response to be confidential?
Question 5: Is there anything you would consider to be a hunting trophy that falls outside of the definition found in CITES and the EU Wildlife Trade Regulations
a) Yes. b) No. c.) If yes, please add more information
Question 6: Is there anything that falls within the definition used in CITES and the EU Wildlife Trade Regulations that you consider should not be treated as a hunting trophy?
a) Yes. b) No. c) If yes, please add more information
Question 7: Do you envisage any challenges or difficulties which might arise from using the definition in CITES and EU Wildlife Trade Regulations, for example, when it comes to enforcement?
a) Yes. b) No. c) If yes, please add more information
Options proposed in the consultation:
The proposed options are limited to the movement of hunting trophies to and from the UK.
Option one: A ban on hunting trophies from certain species entering or leaving the UK.
This option would see the UK diverge from international rules on the international trade in endangered species and go further than equivalent EU standards by introducing stricter controls on hunting trophies from additional species. Under this option, there would be no change to the rules which apply to the import and export of hunting trophies from animals of a species not listed on the chosen
Option two: Stricter requirements for clear benefits to conservation and local communities to be demonstrated before hunting trophies from certain species are permitted to enter or leave the UK.
Under this option, there would be no change to the rules which apply to the import or export of hunting trophies from animals of a species not listed in Annex A or B of the EU Wildlife Trade Regulations, or such other identified list of species.
Option three: A ban on all hunting trophies entering or leaving the UK.
This option would see the UK diverge from international rules on the international trade in endangered species and go further than equivalent EU standards by introducing stricter controls on additional species.
Option four: Do nothing - continue to apply current controls based on internationally agreed rules.
Under this option, we would not change our current policy or practice on hunting trophies and would maintain controls at the current level.
Question 8: We set out a number of options above. We would like to understand your preferred option and the reasons for that preference.
Please state your first and second preferred options:
a. Option one: A ban on hunting trophies from certain species entering or leaving the UK.
b. Option two: Stricter requirements for clear benefits to conservation and local communities to be demonstrated before hunting trophies from certain species are permitted to enter or leave the UK.
c. Option three: A ban on all hunting trophies entering or leaving the UK.
d. Option four: Do nothing - continue to apply current controls based on internationally agreed rules.
e. None: Please suggest any alternatives.
Please add any comments on your preferred options, including any reasons for your preference.
Question 9: Options one and two introduce further restrictions for certain species. Which species do you think these further restrictions should apply to?
a. Species listed on Annex A or B of the EU Wildlife Trade Regulations
b. Species listed on IUCN Red List
d. Please add any comments
(If b.) Please specify which IUCN Red List categories you think these further restrictions should apply to (e.g. critically endangered, endangered, vulnerable)? (If c.) Please tell us which species you think should be affected by further restrictions on the import and export of hunting trophies, either by identifying a framework to use, or submitting your own list, accompanied by an explanation for your answer.
Question 10: Do you think there should be different restrictions on hunting trophies imported and exported to and from countries within the EU, compared with countries outside of the EU?
While the UK is a member of the EU, we will continue to meet our EU obligations. This means that any new restrictions on imports and exports of hunting trophies which go further than those contained in the EU Wildlife Trade Regulations would need to be in accordance with EU law. After we leave the EU, the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 will ensure that the EU Wildlife Regulations remain part of UK law. Any new restrictions would need to be considered in accordance with our future relationship with the EU. If new controls are taken forward, consideration will need to be given to whether those controls should also apply to movement to and from EU countries.
- Please add any comments. Where you think there should be different restrictions, please provide information on what you think the differences should be and why.
Question 11: Do you have additional information or evidence on:
a. Potential impacts of increased restrictions as set out in options one to three?
b. Potential barriers to implementation for options one to three?
Question 12: In options one, two and three, do you think there should be different restrictions on hunting trophies obtained from; wild animals, captive-bred animals or animals involved in canned hunting?
Add any comments (If a.) i. hunting trophies from captive-bred animals (including canned) should have additional controls ii. hunting trophies from wild animals should have additional controls iii. Other
Question 13: For options one, two and three, do you think there should be any exemptions considered? Please state your reasons why.
c. Please add any comments
At ports, Border Force is currently responsible for enforcing prohibitions and restrictions on certain goods being imported into or exported from the UK. To do this effectively, it has been granted enforcement powers, including the power to seize and to detain goods.
We propose Border Force would use its existing powers to enforce at the UK border any new prohibitions placed on the import or export of hunting trophies introduced following this consultation. Away from the UK border, we would ensure that the police would have the necessary powers to enforce any new prohibitions. Where other authorised persons (such as APHA compliance officers) are required to enforce any new prohibitions, we would ensure that they would have the necessary powers to do so.
Where the option taken forward involves new prohibitions being put in place, we propose a mixed regime of civil and criminal sanctions for breaches of those prohibitions. We propose that any new criminal sanctions would be consistent with existing offences under the Control of Trade in Endangered Species Regulations 2018 (COTES). For instance, those found guilty of a criminal offence under COTES are liable to a fine and/or a maximum prison sentence of up to five years.
Similarly, we propose that any new civil sanctions would also be consistent with those found in COTES and would include: compliance notices, monetary penalties, enforcement undertakings, and non-compliance penalties. The type and level of civil penalty applied would be dependent on the type and severity of the offence. An existing regulatory body would be responsible for imposing civil sanctions.
Question 14: Do you agree with our proposed enforcement regime?
c. Please add any comments