Thank you for contacting me about trophy hunting.
As sentient beings who can experience fear and pain, all animals should be treated with thought and care. Trophy hunting involves pursuing another animal in conditions which cause it stress, fear, and pain, with hunters killing as a form of entertainment, not for food, to control pests, or to protect other species.
I understand that there are arguments for conservation hunting. Some individuals and organisations make the case for conservation hunting as a way of bringing income into countries with rich wildlife populations but poor economies. They also argue that commercial hunting provides a strong incentive to manage and safeguard wildlife populations and protect other valuable natural resources from exploitation. I also recognise that occasionally there is a need to cull some species to keep nature in balance and the control of predators to protect other species.
However, I cannot see how those justifications can be used to defend hunters who kill an animal which has been bred in captivity for the specific purpose of being hunted for entertainment. I believe action is needed to stop this sort of exploitation. I am therefore delighted that the Government will consult on a ban on the import of these trophies, which I hope you will be able to take part in.
High standards of animal welfare are one of the hallmarks of a civilised society. We have a long tradition of protecting animals in this country, often many years before others follow. I believe that leaving the EU will allows us to take even bigger steps forward on this.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me. I hope this comes as some reassurance.
EDWARD LEIGH MP