Members of the European Parliament just overwhelmingly rejected calls to ban the importation of hunting trophies into Europe.
Despite intense lobbying by anti-hunting groups and a handful of European politicians, the European Parliament elected not to support a written declaration calling for examination of the possibility of restricting all trophy imports into the European Union.
The European Parliament has been debating the subject since 18 January 2016 and various anti-hunting and pro-hunting groups have spent a great deal of time lobbing members of the parliament. The 18 April deadline for signing the declaration has come and gone and over 80% of the members of parliament have rejected the declaration.
Various proposals to ban or place severe restrictions on importing hunted trophies really started to pick up steam after the Cecil the Lion scandal in 2015. Unfortunately, despite pleas from many knowledgeable authorities, anti-hunting groups have had several successes in this arena.
That being said, it looks like their efforts have failed in Europe for now.
According to Johan Svalby, the European Federation of Associations for Hunting & Conservation Director of Legal and Public Affairs:
When trophy hunting is conducted in a sustainable manner, it positively contributes to the conservation of wild populations and their habitats and also benefits society. In the midst of a poaching crisis, removing the important incentives and revenue provided by legal trophy hunting would constitute a detrimental blow to conservation and cause serious declines of populations of a number of threatened or iconic species, particularly on the African continent. The EU now needs to focus its attention on how to best make use of trophy hunting provide economic incentives to conserve wildlife and to effectively counter wildlife crime. Hunters and conservationists owe a big thanks to MEPs who have not signed the written declaration.
Coming right on the heels of Namibia’s decision to actively promote hunting as a conservation tool, this development in the European Parliament regarding trophy hunting is another piece of great news for hunters all over the world.