THE import of wild animal 'trophies' such as heads, horns or tusks into the UK should be completely banned, a Gwent MP has said.

Islwyn's Chris Evans was speaking in Parliament during a debate on trophy hunting - when wild animals are hunted and killed and 'trophies' are taken as proof of the kill.

In some cases people have travelled to Africa to hunt exotic - and often endangered - animals such as elephants or rhinos, prompting outcry from animal rights and anti-hunting groups.


In one high-profile case in 2015 a lion - Cecil - was killed by an American dentist in Zimbabwe. Although the killer, Walter Palmer, was widely condemned, he had a hunting permit and had not broken the law.

Following the killing a number of airlines banned the transport of hunting trophies but, although the UK Government has made various promises around banning the import of animal trophies in recent years, no such ban has emerged.

And speaking in Parliament, Mr Evans said, while a ban on the trade of ivory in the UK introduced late last year was welcome, it did not go far enough.

Saying "most level-headed people are disgusted and outraged by the trophy hunting trade", the Labour MP said: "Trophy hunting brings misery to communities all over the world and should be stamped out.

South Wales Argus:

Islwyn MP Chris Evans

"The secretary of state for environment, food and rural affairs (Michael Gove) says that his ambition is to regulate wildlife as much as possible.

"However, between 2013 and 2017 - under this government’s watch - global trophy imports increased by 23 per cent.

"Why anybody would want an animal on their wall or fur on their floor is beyond me, but in 2017 there were 16 recorded trophy imports to the UK - a reduction from the 46 in 2016.

"If there is not much appetite for trophy imports in the UK, surely we should ban them anyway. We should ban them on moral grounds, on legal grounds and above all because, as a nation of animal lovers, it is our duty."

Responding to Mr Evans and other MPs who had taken part in the debate, Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs secretary Dr Thérèse Coffey said she recognised the issue "brings out strong and deeply held views and passions", but stopped short of committing to a ban.

"I assure members that the government take the conservation of species seriously," she said.

"We should recognise that some countries see big game hunting as an effective conservation tool that can support local livelihoods and be an important source of funding to protect habitats and species, including those being hunted."

She added: "It will always be challenging when scientific evidence does not necessarily provide support, which is why this might well come down to being a straightforwardly moral or ethical issue."