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Gove ‘cautious’ about trophy hunting import ban
Under current legislation, trophy hunters can legally bring body parts back into the UK with a special permit.
Ban will not yet be introduced as conservationists advise caution  

The UK government will not be banning imports from trophy hunting yet, environment secretary Michael Gove has said, as conservation charities have advised him to “proceed with caution”.

Trophy hunting allows people to pay to take part in hunts and keep a ‘trophy’, such as the head or skin. Under current legislation, trophy hunters can legally bring body parts back into the UK with a special permit. Whilst many view the practice as a bloodsport and are calling for a ban, others claim it raises money for conservation.

During a new BBC Radio 5 Live podcast, Beast of Man, Mr Gove was asked why the UK has not yet enforced a ban. He said conservationists and charities had advised him to exercise caution.

“I think that there is growing momentum for the law to change,” he explained. “But what I don’t want to do is to get ahead. I don’t want to be in a position where I am running so far in advance of what other charities and other leaders want, that we risk the good relationship that’s been built up over time…

“If particular communities have got used to driving income from hunting, you don’t want to seem as though you’re basically saying, we’re taking your livelihood away. We’ve got to make sure that there is a clear alternative, that they know that their livelihoods and their lifestyle are going to be respected and not patronised, before they will feel comfortable about moving.”

Last year more than 50 celebrities signed an open letter in support of the Campaign to Ban Trophy Hunting, which urged the government to ban imports from trophy hunting into Britain. Meanwhile, a cross-party Early Day Motion was signed by over 159 MPs calling for a ban on trophy hunting imports from endangered species.

Save the Rhino, which has not been involved in discussions with the government, has argued that while trophy hunting is a highly controversial issue, many conservationists now recognise that legal, properly regulated operations have a ‘valid role’ in overall rhino conservation strategies.

In a position piece on the subject, the charity said huge sums of money are needed for rhino conservation, including intensive anti-poaching patrols, but tourism and donations do not provide sufficient funds to protect and grow the population. According to the charity, white rhino numbers have risen from 1,800 to over 20,000 since the country permitted limited hunting in 1968, and the practice has offered an incentive for private landowners to keep rhinos.

However, it recognises that the system can be open to abuse and states that trophy hunting income alone will not solve the poaching crisis.

Meanwhile, Dr Mark Jones, head of policy at the Born Free Foundation, said he “strongly refutes” claims that trophy hunters take only ‘problem’ or redundant’ animals, as he believes they typically set their sights on animals with impressive traits, which results in key individuals being removed from the ecosystem. Furthermore, “little if any of the money hunters pay to make their kills ever filters down to local communities or conservation bodies.”

He added: “Banning the importation of hunting trophies from threatened species is an action the UK government can and should take without delay, as part of a commitment to safeguard the conservation and welfare off the world’s diminishing wildlife.”

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 Has someone in your practice team gone above and beyond to make your workplace a positive one during the coronavirus pandemic? Then why not nominate them for a 2020 Practice Wellbeing Star!

The joint RCVS Mind Matters Initiative/SPVS Practice Wellbeing Star nominations recognise individuals who have held up morale during a time when practices are facing unprecedented staffing and financial issues.

Nominees receive a certificate in recognition of their colleagues' appreciation of their achievements and will be entered into the prize draw for a pair of tickets to attend the joint SPVS and Veterinary Management Group Congress in January 2021.

 

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WellVet reopens ticket sales to online conference platform

Following the success of its online conference, the organisers behind WellVet Weekend have re-opened ticket sales to allow new delegates to access session recordings and its online networking platform.

The day-long conference saw more than 360 veterinary professionals mix activity sessions with personal development CPD, all hosted within a virtual conference platform. Now, with more than 500 minutes of CPD available, the resource is being re-opened to allow full access to the session recordings until May 2021.

Sessions are aimed at providing delegates with a range of proactive wellbeing tools to explore to find ways of improving their mental and physical health. Tickets are limited in number and on sale at wellvet.co.uk until 30th August 2020.