Great news to read that the House of Lords is to back the ban on trophy hunting imports into the UK (Saturday Mirror June 17th).
What planet is Crossbencher Lord St John of Bletso on?, who in his ignorance supports the bill, and comments “ Evidence shows properly regulated wild trophy hunting does play an important role in wildlife conservation”.
Certainly not in Zimbabwe M’Lord! – as a former Chief Inspector for the Zimbabwe National Soc. For the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ZNSPCA), I saw first hand how funding that was supposed to be given to the local communities where hunts took place, was rarely received by them.
Instead due to rampant corruption, it was the Town Councillors who were seen driving around in 4x4s and Mercedes, while the local villagers got nothing, except possibly some meat from the hunts.
In addition, some of the trophy hunters who visit Zimbabwe are also guilty of unethical practices, such as using donkeys and goats as live bait.
In addition, there are still several trophy hunters who are using packs of imported hounds to hunt Zimbabwean leopards which was illegal under Zimbabwe’s Wild Life Act.
I know because I was responsible for getting an Amendment to the Act making it illegal for hunters to use packs of dogs - only for the USA’s notorious Safari Club International to swiftly “persuade” the Zimbabwean Govt to make hunting with dogs “legal” again.
This practice is disliked by many professional hunters, who say that “the leopard does not stand a chance”, one Zimbabwean hunter who did use dogs for his clients, when questioned in an interview as to whether this method was ethical? - replied “it may be cruel”
Pro Trophy Hunting activists should be aware that several hunting safaris in Zimbabwe still offer this practice to their rich overseas clients, who pay extra if packs of dogs are used.
However, if a local Zimbabwean living in the rural areas, is caught hunting with his own indigenous dogs to catch rabbits and small animals to feed his family – the Zimbabwean Government’s Police shoot his dogs, he is arrested, taken to court and fined, with the possibility of being jailed if he has no money for the fine, which is more often the case............talk about double standards.
May I suggest that Lord St John of Bletso gets his facts right – trophy hunting is not the cosy “regulated “ pastime he seems to think it is?