Australia set to ban the import of lion products from trophy hunting?
Humane Society International (HSI) understands that at tonight's Global March for Lions in Melbourne's Federation Square, Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt MP may announce an unprecedented ban on the import of lion products from trophy hunting into Australia. This follows earlier comments made by the Minister in mid-2014 and the subsequent Government consultation in September 2014*, as well as the campaign led by Jason Wood MP, the member for La Trobe, who has called for the ban on the import of all CITES listed species**, which HSI strongly supports.
In advance of the Minister's announcement HSI's Campaign Director Michael Kennedy provides the following comments:
HSI strongly supports Australia's efforts to help conserve the African lion, a vulnerable species facing a high risk of extinction in the wild, through the ban on the import of lion products into Australia. Trophy or 'canned' hunting as it is known, is often used as an excuse by hunters who claim that killing a small number of animals will contribute to conservation efforts, or that the income from being charged large amounts to hunt captive bred lions helps rural African communities. Economic research by HSI has found this cannot be substantiated.***
As a nation that imports lion trophies Australia has an important role to play in helping stop further demand for them. A ban on the import of trophies from African lions by Australia sends an important signal internationally that Australia is not willing to support the possible extinction of African lions. HSI congratulates the Australian Government if it takes this unprecedented step.
HSI's Michael Kennedy is available for comment after the Australian Government announcement.
* In September 2014 HSI provided a submission to the Australian Government, finding that:
- The African lion is threatened by trophy hunting
- Australia is a nation that imports lion products, and so is responsible for furthering the demand for lion trophies
- Trade in captive bred lions harms broader lion conservation efforts
- A ban on imports would allow Australia greater control and demonstrate importance of global efforts to conserve lions
- The African lion meets the criteria for listing on Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). CITES Appendix I lists species which are threatened with extinction and the listing prohibits international trade in specimens of these species except when the purpose of the import is not commercial e.g. scientific research
- For HSI's submission on the African Lion http://hsi.org.au/assets/publications/HSIafricanlionCITES.pdf
*** Economists at Large, 2013. The $200 million question: How much does trophy hunting really contribute to African communities?, a report for the African Lion Coalition, prepared by Economists at Large, Melbourne, Australia.
HSI concentrates on the preservation of endangered animals and ecosystems and works to ensure quality of life for all animals, both domestic and wild. HSI is the largest animal protection not-for-profit organisation in the world and has been established in Australia since 1994.