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Trophy hunting and elephant rides: Will proposed new laws be effective in tackling cruelty to animals overseas?

2 July 2021

Today, the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA) Committee launch a new inquiry into Animals Abroad. The inquiry will scrutinise the new Bill, investigating whether the proposed measures will be effective in conserving species, and how new rules could impact on local communities and conservation projects overseas. The Committee will also question how far a ban on the domestic advertising and sale of tourist experiences abroad can influence the unacceptable treatment of animals in other countries.

In May, the Government announced legislation aiming to protect the welfare of animals abroad. But how effective will it be, and could new laws bring unintended consequences?

As part of its Action Plan on animal welfare, the Government is set to introduce an Animals Abroad Bill, intended to ban the import of hunting trophies from endangered animals abroad, by ensuring ‘UK imports and exports of hunting trophies are not threatening the conservation status of species abroad.’ The legislation will also ban the advert and sale of 'low animal welfare experiences' abroad, such as elephant rides. This Bill is intended to 'reinforce the UK's position as a global champion of animal rights'. 

Neil Parish MP, Chair of the EFRA Committee, said: 

As a nation of animal lovers, it is right that the UK legislates to remove its involvement from any form of animal cruelty, at home and abroad. The proposed new Bill has the potential to make real change to the survival of protected species, but it is crucial that it is sensitive to the reality of conservation overseas. 

We will be thoroughly scrutinising the Bill, hearing from those with expertise in conservation and animal protection. We have a tremendous opportunity here to cement our place as a world leader in animal welfare. We must ensure it is done properly."  

The Committee is seeking answers to the following questions, with an initial deadline of 23rd September:  

  1. Will the Government’s proposals on the export and import of hunting trophies effectively support the conservation of endangered species? 
  2. Should there be different rules for the trade in animal trophies depending on the setting in which the animal was hunted? 
  3. What are the possible unintended consequences of the proposals, for example in relation to animal trophies that pre-date the legislation? 
  4. How effective are current measures on the trade in trophies of hunting, including how they support conservation?  
  5. What will be the impact of the proposed domestic ban on advertising and offering for sale overseas attractions, activities or experiences that involve the unacceptable treatment of animals? 
  6. Who should be responsible for ensuring attractions, activities or experiences overseas do not cause the unacceptable treatment of animals? 

Further information

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