All 4 contributions to the Hunting Trophies (Import Prohibition) Bill 2022-23 (Ministerial Extracts Only)

Read Full Bill Debate Texts

Hunting Trophies (Import Prohibition) Bill

(Limited Text - Ministerial Extracts only)

Read Full debate
Committee stage
Wednesday 25th January 2023

(1 year, 4 months ago)

Public Bill Committees
Hunting Trophies (Import Prohibition) Bill 2022-23 Read Hansard Text

This text is a record of ministerial contributions to a debate held as part of the Hunting Trophies (Import Prohibition) Bill 2022-23 passage through Parliament.

In 1993, the House of Lords Pepper vs. Hart decision provided that statements made by Government Ministers may be taken as illustrative of legislative intent as to the interpretation of law.

This extract highlights statements made by Government Ministers along with contextual remarks by other members. The full debate can be read here

This information is provided by Parallel Parliament and does not comprise part of the offical record

Greg Knight Portrait Sir Greg Knight
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

It is a pleasure to see you in the Chair, Sir Mark. I want the Bill to proceed, so I will be brief. I congratulate the my hon. Friend the Member for Crawley on bringing it forward. Some 11 years ago, I backed a new wildlife protection campaign launched in this House by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. The theme was: stamping out the international trade in endangered and vulnerable species. I was shown a selection of items that the authorities had seized. Among them were some elephant tusks, which were under police guard because of their value. That was not what shocked me most. I was handed a trinket—not a carving or a sculpture, but a stuffed tiger cub, slaughtered at 10 days of age and mounted on a plinth. It was killed solely to be a decoration on someone’s mantelpiece. The baby cub trophy was seized in a police raid in the UK. I was horrified and repulsed by that, as I am now by the knowledge that there are people out there who think it is quite acceptable to slaughter an endangered animal for a trophy, or for decorative purposes.

Over a decade later, we are still debating the problem. It has taken too long to get here. I wholeheartedly support my hon. Friend in bringing forward this important measure. Trophy hunting of endangered species is sickening, barbaric and totally unacceptable.

The biggest threat to any private Member’s Bill is the clock. It is all too easy to run out of time, so I conclude by saying “Well done” to my hon. Friend. The right hon. Member for East Antrim said that we may need to do more. He is right, but this is a good start. Let us get on with it.

Trudy Harrison Portrait The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Trudy Harrison)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

It really is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Sir Mark.

As other right hon. and hon. Members have done, I thank my hon. Friend the Member for Crawley for doing such a sterling job in bringing the Bill before us and for his work on conservation and animal welfare more generally. I also thank all right hon. and hon. members of the Committee.

There have been queries about how the Government will support the Bill. As the Minister dealing with the Bill, I will work with my colleague in the other place, Lord Benyon, and I will speak to all Members across the House to ensure that the Bill has the support that it needs. I pay tribute to officials across DEFRA who have supported my hon. Friend the Member for Crawley, me and previous Ministers in making progress with it.

Kerry McCarthy Portrait Kerry McCarthy
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

As has been mentioned, we have had quite a bit of lobbying by people who are involved in talking to the Government about this issue. At one point, basically, they said that the majority of what was said by Members on Second Reading was factually incorrect. Will the Minister confirm that she, with her officials, has carefully considered the evidence, that she has looked at whether their arguments are valid and that she has come to the conclusion, as we all have, that the Bill is the right thing to do?

Trudy Harrison Portrait Trudy Harrison
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I thank the hon. Member for the opportunity to do exactly that. As the new Minister taking up this responsibility, I have had detailed conversations with Members and my officials, who have done a diligent and highly professional job of assessing all the evidence, supporting me and my hon. Friend the Member for Crawley in making progress with the Bill.

We are taking decisive action to respond to the British public’s concerns about trophy hunting abroad. We are acting to protect some of the world’s most iconic animals, including lions, rhinos, elephants and polar bears.

John Spellar Portrait John Spellar
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I welcome the Government’s support for the Bill. As mentioned by a fellow ex-Deputy Chief Whip, the right hon. Member for East Yorkshire, the most crucial thing is to ensure sufficient time for it. In the event of unreasonable obstruction, will the Minister consider a Government carry-over motion for the Bill?

Trudy Harrison Portrait Trudy Harrison
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I very much appreciate the advice of the experienced right hon. Member. All I can say at this stage is that I look forward to a speedy Third Reading. I very much hope that Members across the House will support the progress that the Bill needs to make to secure Royal Assent.

Peter Dowd Portrait Peter Dowd
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

May I pick up on the point made by my hon. Friend the Member for Bristol East? I have had information today that came from Dilys Roe, a member of the UK Government Darwin unit, and Professor Amy Dickman of Oxford University, who describe the figure that 86% of the public would like the Bill to become law as “cherry-picked data” and write that Survation

“found that only around 40% of Britons surveyed would want a trophy hunting ban if it caused harm to people or wildlife.”

I find it remarkable that we are getting that kind of information when, as far as I can see, the evidence is contrary to that. It really is important—I hope the Minister agrees—to put paid to some of the points being made, which are claims of misinformation that in themselves appear to be misinformation.

Trudy Harrison Portrait Trudy Harrison
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I will not be drawn into a conversation about that particular piece of information. Suffice it to say that in my comments, I hope to address some of the points that Members have raised today.

One of those points was about whether the Bill would apply to captive-bred or so-called canned animals, and I can confirm, as my hon. Friend the Member for Crawley did, that it will. It will be one of the toughest import bans, covering thousands of species of conservation concern and not allowing any exemptions. The ban will help to strengthen animal protection and support long-term conservation outcomes.

--- Later in debate ---
Rachael Maskell Portrait Rachael Maskell
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I am concerned that the trophies that these bloodthirsty hunters bring into the UK will be in the form of money, not body parts, because they will sell their kill to other traders across the world. What consideration has the Minister given to introducing a moratorium on people being able to make proceeds out of their kill?

Trudy Harrison Portrait Trudy Harrison
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I share those concerns. I am having detailed discussions with international counterparts in subsequent months. I am afraid that I cannot provide any further detail on that specific point, but I agree with the premise of what needs to be achieved internationally to truly make a difference and conserve endangered species. An awful lot was achieved at the recent COP15, which my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State attended, including a commitment to protect 30% of land and sea and a whole host of other targets and goals to preserve nature and biodiversity.

Clause 1 makes provision for the import prohibition and also defines a hunting trophy for the purposes of the ban. This prohibition, without exemptions, goes much further than our current licensing system in clamping down on these imports. We are sending a clear message, addressing the public’s concerns and delivering our manifesto commitment. The ban will make sure that there is no possibility at all that imports to Great Britain could be putting the conservation of species abroad at risk. A ban is also practical to implement, avoiding ambiguity about what cases might or might not be covered.

The definition of a hunting trophy is drafted to maintain the effect of the current definition that is used for CITES controls. It will cover all items from trophy hunting. That approach means that we will not inadvertently have knock-on effects on other forms of trade under CITES that are not products from trophy hunting. Changing that definition could cause confusion about what is and is not covered, and disrupt other imports by businesses or individuals for other purposes, such as commercial trade in items.

Moving to clause 2, the Government committed to ban imports of trophies from endangered animals, and that is exactly what the Bill delivers. The clause ensures that our approach will be comprehensive, properly clamping down on imports of trophies from endangered animals. By cross-referencing annexes A and B of the wildlife trade regulations, which implement appendices 1 and 2 of CITES, the Bill covers all animal species that are internationally agreed to be threatened or potentially threatened by international trade, including imports of hunting trophies. Thousands of species are covered by those annexes, and covering all those animals even though not all are trophy-hunted means that our policy is as clear and practical as possible. It is a clear and straightforward approach: there will be no imports of trophies from any annex A or B species. That is what the public expect, and it is what the Bill will deliver.

The Bill also includes, in clause 2(1), a power to add further species to the scope of the ban to make sure that nothing is missed and that trophy hunting pressure does not shift to target other endangered animals. On Second Reading, the Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, my hon. Friend the Member for Taunton Deane (Rebecca Pow), made it clear that we will be using that power to list additional species of conservation concern that are targeted for trophies, such as African buffalo and reindeer. We will be looking at species with a conservation status of “near threatened” or worse according to the IUCN red list, and will publish that list of species for Members’ consideration before we table the instrument to list them. We will be able to act swiftly to list any more species in future if those species’ conservation status worsens, or if we see evidence of trophy hunting becoming a problem in such cases.

Clause 3 sets out how a ban on imports to Great Britain will work, and how it will deal with movements from Northern Ireland. As I know the right hon. Member for East Antrim understands, by virtue of the Northern Ireland protocol, current CITES controls on hunting trophies contained within EU legislation will remain in force, effectively maintaining the status quo. The hon. Member for York Central mentioned a concern about trophy hunters avoiding the ban by moving banned trophies through Northern Ireland, but there is no back door through which trophies can enter Great Britain.

Clause 4 deals with the extent and commencement of the Bill, and sets out its short title.

Matt Rodda Portrait Matt Rodda
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I have a further question in relation to Northern Ireland. Could the Minister explain to the Committee what discussions, if any, she has had with the Government of the Irish Republic about this matter? Clearly, there is a lot of cross-border trade that, as my hon. Friend the Member for York Central mentioned, could inadvertently find its way into Great Britain.

Trudy Harrison Portrait Trudy Harrison
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

As the hon. Member will realise, I am a relatively new Minister in this particular post; it is officials who have dealt with the devolved Administrations, consulting on how we can best ensure that the Bill meets both our legal aims and, importantly, our policy aims. This is a reserved matter, and I thank officials in the devolved Administrations—in Wales and Scotland in particular—for their engagement with DEFRA.

Rachael Maskell Portrait Rachael Maskell
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

Obviously, there is concern about the increase in this trade that we may see in parts of the United Kingdom. I have two questions for the Minister. First, how will she monitor the effectiveness of this legislation, and is it her intention to report regularly to the House on its impact? Secondly, is passing the animals abroad Bill still on the Government’s agenda, and if so, will the Minister look at the tourism industry that is promoting this trade and seek to introduce a ban on UK companies promoting hunting? Again, that could influence the effectiveness of this Bill.

Trudy Harrison Portrait Trudy Harrison
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

On monitoring and publishing how effective the ban is, there will be a great deal of interest among both the public and Members across the House in whether the ban has been successful. That will be important in encouraging other countries to follow suit. We will be as transparent as we possibly can be.

On the effectiveness of the ban, there was a question earlier about whether Border Force would require extra equipment to undertake its work. That is not anticipated at this stage. Border Force is well versed and experienced in dealing with imports. We expect to have the skills available at ports and airports to undertake that work.

Greg Knight Portrait Sir Greg Knight
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

Before the Minister concludes, for the benefit of the Committee, will she address the point that I made earlier about the coming into force of clauses 1 and 2? Can she give some hope that that will be done speedily, please?

Trudy Harrison Portrait Trudy Harrison
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I certainly can provide assurance that I will work with my counterparts in the Lords and with the Whips Offices to ensure that we do everything we can to get the Bill through all stages in both Houses and to secure Royal Assent.

We are taking decisive action on animal welfare, and I know that colleagues have great interest in that agenda. We set out an ambitious programme of legislative and non-legislative animal welfare reforms in our action plan for animal welfare, which was published in May 2021. We are delivering on those commitments in this parliamentary Session—I am pleased that the Shark Fins Bill, which we support, has now been introduced in the other place, having completed its passage through this House. We are making good progress in this area.

I reiterate the Government’s full support for this important Bill as it makes its way through Parliament, thanks to my hon. Friend the Member for Crawley and the other right hon. and hon. Members in Committee. They have done an excellent job diligently, dedicated to the benefit of conservation abroad.

Henry Smith Portrait Henry Smith
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

Let me conclude by expressing my sincere thanks to right hon. and hon. members of the Committee for their supportive remarks. Remarkably, I agree with everything that was raised. I also thank those Members who are not present, but spoke on Second Reading, for their support. I express my gratitude to the Clerks in the Bill Office for all the technical and logistical support that they have offered me; to the team in the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs for their support to me; and to the Government Whips Office.

Sadly, in October 2021, our dear late colleague Sir David Amess was murdered. This is an issue that he campaigned on in the last week of his life, and I dedicate this Committee sitting to his memory and fine legacy. [Hon. Members: “Hear, hear.”]

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 1 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clauses 2 to 4 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Bill to be reported, without amendment.

Hunting Trophies (Import Prohibition) Bill

(Limited Text - Ministerial Extracts only)

Read Full debate

This text is a record of ministerial contributions to a debate held as part of the Hunting Trophies (Import Prohibition) Bill 2022-23 passage through Parliament.

In 1993, the House of Lords Pepper vs. Hart decision provided that statements made by Government Ministers may be taken as illustrative of legislative intent as to the interpretation of law.

This extract highlights statements made by Government Ministers along with contextual remarks by other members. The full debate can be read here

This information is provided by Parallel Parliament and does not comprise part of the offical record

Bill Wiggin Portrait Sir Bill Wiggin
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for his typically helpful intervention, which allowed me to shuffle my papers. I agree with him: the people who are concerned about the topic of this Bill are kind-hearted. They want to make sure that animals are safe and protected, and they have a very good vehicle to express that in the form of the Bill tabled by my hon. Friend the Member for Crawley. The problem is that the road to hell is paved with good intentions, and none of us in the whole House wants to see any reduction in the habitat of endangered species, or the success of their recovery. Therefore, I hope that the Bill will not undermine that, as I fear, and that instead we can come together and agree a Bill that will be able to pass through the House.

To that end, amendment 1 is a most important amendment, because it seeks to restrain the Secretary of State’s powers—I know that this Secretary of State is tremendous, but I cannot predict who it might be in the future. Therefore, the amendment would restrict the Secretary of State’s actions to the species listed on the face of the Bill—the ones that we are all concerned about. It would remove their power to vary by statutory instrument the species to which the Act applies. It would close the loophole that grants the Secretary of State the power to extend the Act to animals that are not considered endangered. I am concerned that that power could go beyond our 2019 manifesto commitment to ban the import of hunting trophies from endangered animals, which our constituents voted for.

I thank the Government for engaging with me so positively on this matter. I believe that we can move forward constructively if we adopt amendment 1, which would keep the scope of the Bill limited to species listed in annexes A or B of the principal wildlife trade regulation. Under that regulation, all CITES species are listed in four annexes, according to their varying levels of protection. Annex A, which includes all CITES appendix 1 species and some CITES appendix 2 species, lists the most endangered species: those that are either threatened with extinction or so rare that any level of trade would imperil the survival of the species. They include the hunting leopard, Indian lion and black and white rhino, apart from those in South Africa where numbers are higher.

Annex B includes all other CITES appendix 2 species, as well as some other species, but predominantly those threatened by commercial trade. For instance, the African elephant, the African lion, some white rhinos, some brown bears, and the American black bear would fall into that classification. Granting the Secretary of State power to vary by statutory instrument the species to which the Bill applies would allow species that are not listed in CITES and are not endangered to fall within the scope of the Bill. That was brought to my attention on Second Reading, when the Minister, my hon. Friend the Member for Taunton Deane (Rebecca Pow), said:

“The Government intend to table an instrument that covers those species of concern”—[Official Report, 25 November 2022; Vol. 723, c. 585.]

—an instrument that would cover other animals, which really disturbed me. The British people did not vote for an indiscriminate ban on shooting any animal that the Secretary of State might choose to name. They voted to protect endangered species, and that is what I hope the Bill will do.

I do not think that I need to go on. If the Government are willing to accept amendment 1, I can pause and allow some of my friends and colleagues to contribute. If the Minister would like to intervene, I would be delighted to know whether amendment 1 is acceptable to the Government; otherwise, we can talk about amendment 14, which leaves out the power of the Secretary of State to specify animals or species to which the prohibition applies. Of course, that does a very similar job to amendment 1.

Trudy Harrison Portrait The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Trudy Harrison)
- View Speech - Hansard - - - Excerpts

I would like to confirm that the Government are minded to accept both new clause 4 and amendment 1, for reasons I will go into later in the debate. I am pleased to understand that my hon. Friend will not, I think, move the remaining 30 amendments that have been tabled.

Bill Wiggin Portrait Sir Bill Wiggin
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I am extremely grateful to my hon. Friend the Minister. She has been about as helpful as any Minister I have ever had the pleasure of working with, and I am sure the whole House will join me in celebrating my ability to not press my amendments, apart from the two that she has just mentioned.

--- Later in debate ---
Trudy Harrison Portrait Trudy Harrison
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I thank all colleagues, both those who have spoken in today’s debate and those who have played their part in making this legislation possible. I particularly thank my hon. Friend the Member for Crawley (Henry Smith), who has demonstrated such diligence, professionalism and courage, because there are strong and credible arguments across this debate.

I will be brief, because we have an awful lot to get through. As I said, I support new clause 4, tabled by my hon. Friend the Member for Christchurch (Sir Christopher Chope). I commend the principle of receiving expert advice on this matter, especially given the credible and variable discussions, and recognising that, in some cases, money from trophy hunting supports conservation. On Third Reading, I will set out what we are currently doing and how we will continue to support countries.

I also support amendment 1, tabled by my hon. Friend the Member for North Herefordshire (Sir Bill Wiggin). In doing so, I stress my support for the internationally agreed system, under CITES, for identifying, listing and protecting species that are endangered, threatened or potentially at risk from international trade, including the trade in hunting trophies. The reference to annexes A and B covers around 6,000 species, among them iconic species that we know are targeted for trophies. Of course, this ban goes beyond CITES, which is the right thing to do and is why we are here.

Bill Wiggin Portrait Sir Bill Wiggin
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I beg to ask leave to withdraw the motion.

Clause, by leave, withdrawn.

New Clause 4

Advisory Board on Hunting Trophies

“(1) The Secretary of State must appoint an Advisory Board on Hunting Trophies (“Advisory Board”).

(2) The Advisory Board appointed under subsection (1) may have up to three members.

(3) The role of the Advisory Board is to advise the Secretary of State—

(a) on any question relating to this Act which the Secretary of State may refer to the Committee,

(b) on any matter relating to the import to Great Britain of hunting trophies derived from species of animal which appear to the Secretary of State to be, or to be likely to become, endangered.

(4) In appointing members of the Advisory Board, the Secretary of State must have regard to their expertise in matters relating to the import of hunting trophies.”—(Sir Christopher Chope.)

Brought up, read the First and Second time, and added to the Bill.

Clause 2

Animals to which the import prohibition relates

Amendment made: 1, page 2, line 6, leave out from “Regulation,” to end of line 20.—(Sir Bill Wiggin.)

This amendment would remove the power of the Secretary of State to vary by statutory instrument the species to which this Act applies.

Third Reading

--- Later in debate ---
Alex Sobel Portrait Alex Sobel
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I thank my right hon. Friend for his intervention. I have had fruitful discussions with the Minister, who I am sure will respond to his point when she speaks, but I know the Government are as keen as we are to see this Bill on the statute book: there is no division between our parties on this.

I will conclude by finishing my quote from Benjamin Zephaniah:

“Let’s support the Hunting Trophies (Import Prohibition) Bill.”

I hope we can get this Bill through shortly.

10.48 am

Trudy Harrison Portrait Trudy Harrison
- View Speech - Hansard - - - Excerpts

I thank all Members who have contributed to the debate, and I also thank those Members who, sadly, are not able to contribute to the debate but have been instrumental in enabling this day to happen. In particular, I refer to our hon. Friend the former Member for Southend West. He was taken far too soon, and his contribution to this place was more than many of us will ever make; my right hon. Friend the Member for Rayleigh and Wickford (Mr Francois) set that out eloquently. The former Member for Birmingham, Erdington also cannot be here to debate a subject that was so important to him. And, dare I say it, Cecil the lion has not died in vain. It is an emotional day for all of us, for many reasons, but I am pleased to be here to support the Bill, and I pay tribute to my hon. Friend the Member for Crawley (Henry Smith) once again for his efforts in getting it to what is nearly the final stage.

The right hon. Member for Warley (John Spellar) raised his concern, and I cannot say it is not also my concern. I want this Bill to pass through the other place, as I know other Members here today do. I am grateful for the meeting I had this morning with the hon. Members for Oldham West and Royton (Jim McMahon) and for Leeds North West (Alex Sobel) to discuss how that might be possible, because it is of such significance to all parties across the House.

John Spellar Portrait John Spellar
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

It looks as though we have more time in the parliamentary calendar running up to the autumn, but can the Government send a clear message to any who might be tempted to cause disruption and delay in the other place, to ensure that there is sufficient parliamentary time for this measure to go through in this Session?

Trudy Harrison Portrait Trudy Harrison
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

The right hon. Gentleman invites me to make promises on timings that I simply cannot make. However, some of the concerns that have been raised today and that will be raised in the other place relate to how we will support the countries affected by this ban on the import of trophies, so I would like to briefly set out the work the Government are undertaking. It includes £90 million for the Darwin initiative and Darwin Plus, to address biodiversity challenges and support local communities; £30 million for action on illegal wildlife trade; and the £100 million biodiverse landscapes fund, to work across six landscapes to protect and restore critical terrestrial ecosystems.

I do recognise that some of the income from trophy hunting has contributed to the protection of habitat and the prevention of poaching, but bringing in the body parts of endangered species, as clearly set out in CITES I and II lists, is not the way forward. This Government recognise that, and this country recognises that, and I am clear that it is time for change. It is what the public expect, and we know that because over 85% of respondents to the consultation made it clear, but this will remain controversial. That is why we were willing to accept new clause 4, tabled by my hon. Friend the Member for Christchurch (Sir Christopher Chope), which will set up an advisory board to the Government, and to respect the work that CITES does internationally, which is why we were willing to accept amendment 1, tabled by my hon. Friend the Member for North Herefordshire (Sir Bill Wiggin).

Trudy Harrison Portrait Trudy Harrison
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I will of course give way to my esteemed colleague.

George Eustice Portrait George Eustice
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My hon. Friend makes an important point. There is cross-party support for the Bill, with Members on both sides of the House wanting it to proceed well in the other place. Does she agree that, now that this concession has been made—a generous concession, I might add—to curtail significantly the regulation-making powers in clause 2, there is nothing for their lordships to object to? Normally, they object to so-called Henry VIII powers, but those have been completely removed, so it should be possible to expedite the progress of the Bill in the other place.

Trudy Harrison Portrait Trudy Harrison
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My right hon. Friend is correct. We have accepted this amendment because we want the Bill to progress in not only the Commons but the Lords.

The import ban will cover all species listed in annexes A and B of the wildlife trade regulations, broadly aligned with appendices 1 and 2 of CITES. That extends to around 6,000 species, including those mentioned in the House.

I take the opportunity to recognise again the concerns that have been raised about Northern Ireland, and the risk, referred to by my right hon. Friend the Member for East Antrim (Sammy Wilson), that Northern Ireland would become a backdoor. He queried how we would make progress and clearly set out that he very much wants to be part of the UK. Let me reassure the House that we will do everything we possibly can to ensure that Northern Ireland will not be a backdoor for so-called trophies from endangered species to enter Scotland, England or Wales. Northern Ireland will not be a stepping stone for imports to Great Britain.

In Committee, we discussed the workings of the Bill, and how it operated alongside the Northern Ireland protocol and the UK internal market. Since then, the Government have published the Windsor framework.

Sammy Wilson Portrait Sammy Wilson
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I hope that I made it clear that my concern is not only that Northern Ireland could become a backdoor, but that it would be exempt from the legislation so people who engage in trophy hunting could operate freely in Northern Ireland. The Northern Ireland protocol does not stop it and the Windsor framework does not stop it. Can the Minister give us an assurance that the Government will take action to stop imports coming into Northern Ireland—full stop—just as they would be banned from the rest of the United Kingdom?

Trudy Harrison Portrait Trudy Harrison
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I would like to put on record that our current controls on imports will continue to apply to Northern Ireland, under the current CITES controls, in line with the Northern Ireland protocol and the Windsor framework. We will continue to scrutinise import permit applications carefully, ensuring that they will not be moved onwards. Movements of hunting trophies from Northern Ireland to Great Britain will be subject to the import ban, unless they are qualifying Northern Ireland goods, in line with the United Kingdom Internal Market Act 2020. But we will continue to review this and continue to work with my right hon. Friend as we make progress.

Sammy Wilson Portrait Sammy Wilson
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

The Minister says that the Government will seek to do this using the CITES legislation. If that were the case, there would be no need for the Bill. The Bill is required because additional action is needed to stop people going and cruelly hunting down animals in other parts of the world and bringing them back as trophies to the United Kingdom. I want to know how the Minister intends to ensure that Northern Ireland trophy hunters do not have licence that they do not have in other parts of the United Kingdom.

Trudy Harrison Portrait Trudy Harrison
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My right hon. Friend makes a convincing point, but it should be recognised that this is a Brexit opportunity. We would not be able to make this progress across Great Britain if we were still in the European Union. It is not ideal; I would be the first person to state that clearly. We want to make further progress. We will make further progress, I am sure. I will continue to meet with those in Northern Ireland, as will my officials.

Christopher Chope Portrait Sir Christopher Chope
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

Does the Minister accept that, apparently, the Netherlands, despite being within the European Union, has imposed a complete ban on trophy imports? If the Netherlands can do it, why can it not be done in respect of Northern Ireland?

Trudy Harrison Portrait Trudy Harrison
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

Madam Deputy Speaker, you will excuse me from being drawn into that wider argument. To return to the crux of this debate, since the Bill Committee, we have published the environmental improvement plan, setting out our goal in the UK, across our country, to see thriving plants and wildlife, and how we are going to achieve that. The UK is supporting other countries to take action, working together with a shared commitment to halt and reverse biodiversity loss by 2030, as we agreed at the UN nature summit COP15 in Montreal last year.

I know that we want to get a great many other Bills through today, so I will close. I thank and commend my hon. Friend the Member for Crawley for his relentless determination. I thank other Members from across the House, particularly the hon. Member for Neath (Christina Rees). She and I have met and I know that she feels passionately about this subject, and I was pleased to work with her. I thank my hon. Friends on the Front Bench, who have worked collegiately to ensure that this House passes the Bill—I am incredibly grateful for that. I am pleased that Members have contributed not just today but previously.

We are sending to the rest of the world the strong message that we in this country demonstrate where we can our support for endangered species across the world, as set out in CITES, and we do not accept their body parts being used as so-called trophies to be brought back into this country.

Question put and agreed to.

Bill accordingly read the Third time and passed.

Hunting Trophies (Import Prohibition) Bill

(Limited Text - Ministerial Extracts only)

Read Full debate

This text is a record of ministerial contributions to a debate held as part of the Hunting Trophies (Import Prohibition) Bill 2022-23 passage through Parliament.

In 1993, the House of Lords Pepper vs. Hart decision provided that statements made by Government Ministers may be taken as illustrative of legislative intent as to the interpretation of law.

This extract highlights statements made by Government Ministers along with contextual remarks by other members. The full debate can be read here

This information is provided by Parallel Parliament and does not comprise part of the offical record

Lord Benyon Portrait The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Benyon) (Con)
- View Speech - Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, I speak in support of the Bill on behalf of the Government and thank noble Lords on all sides for the quality of this debate. I pay tribute to my noble friend Lady Fookes and my honourable friend Henry Smith in the other place for their progress with the Bill thus far.

It is clear from the debate and from the noise around it that trophy hunting is a controversial issue. There are those who point to the evidence about the potential benefits of well-managed hunting and those who point to the evidence of harm or poor practice. The Bill is about imports to Great Britain. The import ban will, of course, not prevent a UK resident or citizen from participating in hunting while overseas. Trophy hunting will continue around the world, and it is right that each country should be able to decide how best to manage its wildlife. The Bill does not change that, but it is also right that we listen to the British public, and there is a clear and strong message to bring an end to the import of endangered animals taken for the purpose of trophies. The Bill before us will therefore fulfil our manifesto commitment to do just that and, in doing so, it would help us to better protect some of the world’s most endangered species.

On the Bill itself, Clauses 1 and 2 together make provision for the import ban; it will cover trophies brought into Great Britain from animals hunted after this legislation comes into force. The definition of a hunting trophy in Clause 1 is:

“the body of an animal, or a … part or derivative of an animal, that … is obtained through hunting … for the hunter’s personal use”.

That is how hunting trophies are defined in our current controls under CITES—the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species. This means other types of item will continue to be subject to our current controls—for example, under CITES. Trade in those other types of items will not be affected by the Bill.

Clause 2—and this leads to the point raised by my noble friend Lord Mancroft—means that the import ban will cover all species listed in Annexes A and B of our wildlife trade regulations, which implement Appendices 1 and 2 of CITES in Great Britain. The annexes cover species that the global community has agreed to protect through trade restrictions in the light of their endangered status. The Commons narrowed the scope of the Bill by making an amendment to remove a power for the Secretary of State to add the species that would be covered. To use Annexe A and B listings with no additions or variations is the best way for the Bill to address imports from endangered species. As a result, the Bill will end the permits system for imports of hunting trophies from these species. There are no provisions for exemptions to the import ban for hunting trophies from those species.

Clause 3 is about movements from Northern Ireland to Great Britain. Let me be clear that we will do as much as we can to ensure that Northern Ireland is not used as a stepping stone for imports to Great Britain. The EU wildlife trade regulations continue to apply in Northern Ireland under the Windsor Framework. Our CITES authorities will carefully scrutinise permit applications for Northern Ireland to ensure that imports meet the strict requirements set out by those regulations to ensure that trade is sustainable and legal. We also have controls in place for movements of endangered species from Northern Ireland to Great Britain, and those controls will apply to all hunting trophies in scope of the Bill.

Clause 4, added on Report in the Commons, is about the advisory board on hunting trophies—and some comment was made on this. My colleague speaking in the other place welcomed the principle of receiving expert advice, and I agree. For example, we already receive advice on international wildlife trade issues from the JNCC, which is the UK’s scientific authority for CITES. We are aware there is an unclear reference to “Committee” in Clause 4(3)(a), which a number of noble Lords have raised with me. That will be corrected to “advisory board” on printing. There is no need for noble Lords to make an amendment in this regard, and I put on the record that the Government have no concerns about the drafting.

Lastly, Clause 5 considers extent, application, commencement and short title. The import of endangered species is a reserved matter, and consequently there is no need for a legislative consent Motion, which saves me the embarrassment that I indulged in on an earlier piece of legislation today. I was always told that it is crucial on the Front Bench to make everyone think you know what you are doing, but clearly I failed on that occasion. However, I am grateful for the engagement of the Scottish and Welsh Governments on these issues.

On some of the comments raised in this debate, the difficulty with issues such as this is that it becomes an argument of “I see your experts and raise you mine”. Undoubtedly, there are a plethora of experts of varying degrees, scientists and not scientists, bringing their sway into this argument. They can be prayed in aid by different sides of the argument, and everyone has to make a judgment on that.

With regard to the eloquent words of the noble Lord, Lord St John, I think the whole House agrees with him about canned hunting. However, I urge noble Lords not to go down a rabbit hole that tries to define it. The repulsive prospect of an animal being contained in a small enclosure and shot with none of the danger that one would find shooting even a cow in a field is abhorrent to all of us. However, if one tries to define that in law, one starts to say, “How big an enclosure?” There are some wildlife conservancies that are contained but which are to an extent false ecosystems, because animals cannot move within and without them. However, I think we all share the noble Lord’s and others’ abhorrence of certain hunting practices that may be defined in that way.

I understand the points raised by many noble Lords, but I do not quite know whether to commiserate the noble Lord, Lord Mann, on Leeds or to congratulate him on Wrexham—maybe both. But he made a very interesting point.

The point about UK exports was raised. The Bill is about imports of hunting trophies from endangered species and animals abroad. We are taking action to address the public’s concerns over that. We have appropriate controls in place to protect our wildlife and to manage hunting in this country; we will not be amending any of our legislation or regulations on hunting in this country.

The noble Earl, Lord Erroll, and others raised issues about support for communities in countries that may be affected by this legislation. I know that the letter from my honourable friend the Minister that was referred to may have been misconstrued. I urge noble Lords to delink this legislation from all the other provisions we make to support countries to maintain their environment and wildlife. That is an ongoing commitment of support, whether through ODA or a variety of different international fora. For example, our £90 million Darwin Initiative and Darwin Plus are hugely appreciated in these countries for the work that they do to protect wildlife. The £30 million action on illegal wildlife trade and the £100 million biodiverse landscapes fund, which works across six landscapes and multiple different countries’ borders to protect wildlife, are nothing to do with this legislation. That is ongoing and our support for our friends, whether in Africa or elsewhere, will continue. The UK is fully committed to practical, meaningful support for conservation and for developing sustainable livelihoods based on wildlife. Our official development assistance will not replace trophy hunting and that is not what it aims to do.

My noble friend Lord Lilley made an impassioned speech, and I just say that we have appropriate controls in place to protect domestic species. According to CITES data, the UK has recorded only seven exports of hunting trophies from annexe A and B species in the past 10 years. Of these, two trophies were from barasingha deer, which were hunted in this country. The barasingha is not native to this country and is kept in private collections. Other trophy exports recorded by the UK were re-exports, originally from other countries.

My noble friend Lord Swire asked about impact. We recently published an impact assessment for the Bill, which discusses the impact of this reform on the UK, in line with the usual practice. Our impact assessments discuss some of the difficulties in evaluating the wider impacts of the Bill; it is complex and difficult to assess the impacts of further action on UK imports.

My noble friends Lord Reay and Lord Hannan and a number of others spoke about Kenya. I know a bit about Kenya and the declines in wildlife are for more complicated reasons than may have been prayed in aid in this debate. Differences of animals’ abundance will occur within particular parts of countries, and there are parts of Kenya where animal abundance is being restored in remarkable ways. I join with my noble friend Lord Selkirk in paying tribute to Iain Douglas-Hamilton, whom I know, and his daughter Saba and other members of his family, for the remarkable work they have done with Save the Elephants.

The noble Lord, Lord Rennard, asked whether there will be time to deal with amendments. I cannot give him that assurance. I do not know and have not spoken about that in detail, but in the process of this Bill we will seek to tease that out.

For my final point, I am grateful for the words of the noble Baroness, Lady Hayman, but I urge a little caution because, domestically, some of the richest wildlife habitats that we find anywhere on these islands are sustained through the activities of people who hunt for sport. They do that off their own back, out of their own pocket and often with little impact on the public purse. We need to be careful with the language that we use and make sure that we support those who deliver wildlife hotspots up and down the country.

This Bill to ban imports of hunting trophies has come from the other place with cross-party support. It is here with the Government’s full support. I urge noble Lords to lend their support as it makes its way through the House. We know from repeated rounds of consultation that the public expect us to deliver on this commitment. In closing, I thank my noble friend Lady Fookes for her efforts in leading this important Bill.

Hunting Trophies (Import Prohibition) Bill

(Limited Text - Ministerial Extracts only)

Read Full debate

This text is a record of ministerial contributions to a debate held as part of the Hunting Trophies (Import Prohibition) Bill 2022-23 passage through Parliament.

In 1993, the House of Lords Pepper vs. Hart decision provided that statements made by Government Ministers may be taken as illustrative of legislative intent as to the interpretation of law.

This extract highlights statements made by Government Ministers along with contextual remarks by other members. The full debate can be read here

This information is provided by Parallel Parliament and does not comprise part of the offical record

Baroness Fookes Portrait Baroness Fookes (Con)
- View Speech - Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, we have already spent a considerable time on this first amendment. I take what I think is a minority view about the purpose of Committee: it is to look, in detail, at amendments to improve a Bill or reject various parts of it, as the case may be. Speeches should be closely argued on the amendment concerned, or the amendments if they are grouped, and they should be concise. The time spent on this amendment has been miniscule in comparison with the time spent on what were, in effect, Second Reading speeches. I am sorry, but I deplore that as a Committee issue.

I turn then to the actual amendment. It gives the Secretary of State the requirement, not just once but each year, to make

“a statement in writing to the effect that, in the Secretary of State’s view, its operation will not cause unintended and perverse consequences for wildlife conservation”.

I once chaired the Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee, and I was always very wary of giving the Government, Secretaries of State or anybody else unfettered discretion to do things. This seems to me to fall into that category, because there is not even a whiff of parliamentary scrutiny. For that reason, I am very much opposed to this and, as I wish to be concise, I will sit down and leave the Minister to speak.

Lord Benyon Portrait The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Benyon) (Con)
- View Speech - Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, I thank the noble Earl, Lord Caithness, for tabling and moving this amendment, and the other Peers who have proposed amendments. However, I must say that the Government are disappointed that the House has not thus far been able to agree a way forward for this important legislation. My experience is that there is always a deal to be done, and I hope we may yet find some way forward. I was interested to hear the words of the noble Lord, Lord Turnbull, whose experience in these matters is hugely valued. I will take up any opportunity to find a way forward.

Lord Mancroft Portrait Lord Mancroft (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I thank my noble friend for giving way; I am most grateful. I too would like to have found a way forward, which is why I made clear what my proposal was on 16 June at Second Reading. I am very sad that my noble friend Lady Fookes has declined to discuss it with me. I asked on three occasions, but she felt she could not—that is her right, of course. I also rather regret that over two and a half months, the first squeak I heard out of the Government was last week, and no proposal or ability to find common ground was offered. The only direct approach I had was yesterday, 24 hours before Committee. That is no way to find agreement; nevertheless, my door is open and I look forward to agreement, because most of my noble friends here do not wish to kill this Bill. We would like to see a good Bill on the statute book.

Lord Benyon Portrait Lord Benyon (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I thank my noble friend and understand the point he makes. Like other noble Lords, I commend my noble friend Lady Fookes for her commitment to this Bill and her hard work to support it.

I shall set out the Government’s position on the Bill and speak to the issues raised by a number of amendments. First, as noble Lords will know, the Bill before us would deliver our manifesto commitment to ban the import of hunting trophies from endangered animals. I recognise that this is a controversial proposal in this House, and I accept that there is a range of views and evidence on trophy hunting, including that it can be beneficial in conservation terms and for local livelihoods if well managed. The Government’s position, having listened to a number of different sides and gone through all the options, is that an import ban is the best way forward. An import ban would address the public’s concern about imports of hunting trophies, delivering a policy that is clear, comprehensive and practical to implement and enforce.

This is why we have a problem with the so-called “smart ban” amendments put forward, such as Amendment 14, tabled by the noble Lord, Lord Hamilton of Epsom and the noble Earl, Lord Caithness; Amendment 19A, tabled by the noble Earl, Lord Caithness; Amendment 34, tabled by the noble Lord, Lord Mancroft; Amendment 39, tabled by the noble Lord, Lord Lucas; Amendment 40, tabled by the noble Lord, Lord Robathan; and Amendment 41, tabled by the noble Lords, Lord Bellingham and Lord Roborough. What is being proposed in those amendments is effectively a licensing system based on criteria about conservation impact or wildlife management practices and regulations. That is, broadly speaking, what we already have in place. The effect of these amendments would be to negate the purpose of the Bill.

There are a great number of amendments which deal with items in scope of the ban, concerning changes to the definition of a hunting trophy or the species, items or conditions under which a hunting trophy would be subject to the ban. This includes Amendments 3 to 7, 9, 10, 12, 15 to 18, 20 to 28, 31 to 33 and 35 to 38, in the names of the noble Earls, Lord Leicester and Lord Caithness, the noble Lords, Lord Lucas, Lord Hamilton, Lord Swire, Lord Robathan, Lord Reay, Lord Howard of Rising and Lord Roborough, and the noble Viscount, Lord Trenchard.

The definition of a hunting trophy used in the Bill, in Clause 1, is consistent with the definition agreed by CITES and is already used by our authorities for CITES controls. Our current controls would continue for imports that are not hunting trophies. There is already provision in the Bill for consideration of imports for scientific or educational purposes, for example for the import of items for personal use that were not obtained through hunting. The scope of species is clear and comprehensive. Annexes A and B of our wildlife trade regulations implement appendices 1 and 2 of CITES in Great Britain. They cover species at risk from international trade, including elephants, giraffes, rhinos, big cats, bears, primates and hippos.

--- Later in debate ---
20:37

Division 4

Ayes: 30

Noes: 39

--- Later in debate ---
Earl of Caithness Portrait The Earl of Caithness (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, this is a very simple amendment. It makes Clause 1 subject to Clause 4, which relates to the advisory committee, which we will come on to discuss in some detail. I think it is a very flawed clause of the Bill, which needs amendment. The point of this amendment is simply to make certain that the advice will be understood and taken on board by the Government when it comes to the implementation of Clause 1 of the Bill.

It is very depressing that the Government have turned their back on and totally ignored the information from their advisory body, the JNCC. It has set a bad precedent. It has undermined the JNCC and has reduced the efficacy of the Government’s work on conservation abroad. It is a very damaging decision that the Secretary of State has taken, against normal precedent. I hope therefore that, by my simple amendment, at least the consideration of the advisory board will be taken a little more seriously by the Government than they are taking advice at the moment. I beg to move.

Lord Benyon Portrait Lord Benyon (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, I have already set out the Government’s position on this matter in my response to an earlier group. I have no further comments to make, and I will not be supporting this amendment. I hope that the noble Earl will withdraw it.

Earl of Caithness Portrait The Earl of Caithness (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, I am grateful for all the support around the Committee I have received on that one. In view of the brief but factual reply from my noble friend the Minister, I am happy to withdraw this amendment.

--- Later in debate ---
Lord Mancroft Portrait Lord Mancroft (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

Does that mean that my noble friend thinks that we should have trophy laws for domestic animals?

Lord Benyon Portrait Lord Benyon (Con)
- View Speech - Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, I do not wish to add to what I said earlier, but my noble friend has asked me something specifically. There are considerable concerns about the hunting of captive bred animals, including what is termed “canned hunting”. Such trophies should not be exempt from the import ban. The concept of what most of us imagine canned hunting to be is one that excites all our wrath and indignation about a practice that, in risk terms, is like shooting a cow in a field. I entirely understand, and I think that everybody is keen to find a way in which to differentiate it.

We could find ourselves dancing on the head of a legal pin here. What is an enclosure? There could be a small enclosure the size of this room, which would of course be ridiculous; there are also hunting concessions that are fenced in and, effectively, a managed population of animals. I do not want to get into that debate or make legislation that would create circumstances in which a court would be sought to adjudicate that legal definition. Therefore, I cannot recommend that this Committee supports this amendment, and respectfully urge the noble Earl to withdraw it.

Earl of Leicester Portrait The Earl of Leicester (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, I thank those noble Lords who have taken part in this debate, particularly the noble Lord, Lord Bellingham, who highlighted many examples around the world, and the noble Lord, Lord Mancroft, who highlighted the importance of differentiating between wild and captive animals. However, like my noble friend Lord Caithness, I will not seek to divide the Committee on this issue. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

--- Later in debate ---
Baroness Fookes Portrait Baroness Fookes (Con)
- View Speech - Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, your Lordships will probably not be surprised that I do not agree with my noble friend Lord Mancroft on this. I prefer the fact that there is a wider scope with the wildlife trade regulations annexes A and B. If they do not cause a problem, nobody will worry about that. I was amused by my noble friend Lord Mancroft and his molluscs, but I really do not think it is of any significance whatever. However, what I do notice is that as we go through the various amendments, a little bit here and a little bit there is chipped away, and if they were all accepted, we would see something very different indeed. Therefore, I stand by the Bill as it stands.

Lord Benyon Portrait Lord Benyon (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, I set out earlier my thoughts on these amendments. My noble friend Lord Lucas is a very intelligent and assiduous parliamentarian and raises an important point. But I suggest that this amendment is not necessary, because the species in scope are provided for in Clause 2. Notwithstanding what my noble friend Lord Mancroft says, that is for the simplicity of the functioning of the Bill, so I hope I can persuade my noble friend Lord Lucas to withdraw his amendment.

Lord Bellingham Portrait Lord Bellingham (Con)
- View Speech - Hansard - - - Excerpts

I will just add on that last point: surely we should stick to the manifesto commitment, which is on endangered species. That is what we said in the manifesto. Maybe the Minister could stand up again and answer that point. Widening it in this way in Clause 2 to the 6,200 species goes far wider than what we committed to in 2019.

Earl of Caithness Portrait The Earl of Caithness (Con)
- View Speech - Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, to follow that up, it seems strange that my noble friend the Minister lamented that there was not a compromise on the Bill—that was when he started his reply to me on my first amendment. The Bill as presented before us is much wider than the manifesto commitment. Surely this would be an area in which a sensible compromise, achieving the aims of those of us who wish to improve the conservation of animals throughout the world and what the Government seek to do, is a possibility. If my noble friend was serious in saying that he laments the lack of a compromise, he ought to tell us where he thinks a compromise might be.

Lord Benyon Portrait Lord Benyon (Con)
- View Speech - Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, one of the reasons I enjoy being in this House is that we have to achieve compromises in so many things. I try to work across the House to try to get half a loaf rather than no loaf at all. Here we are trying to achieve something that is workable. Annexes A and B of our wildlife trade regulations implement appendices 1 and 2 of CITES in Great Britain. They cover species at risk from international trade, listing nearly 6,000 species, as has been mentioned. These include elephants, giraffes, rhinos, big cats, bears, primates and hippos. By covering all animal species in annexes A and B of the wildlife trade regulations, we are removing any possibility of permitting the import of a hunting trophy from these species into Great Britain. Estimates of the number of species that are trophy hunted vary, but they are in the hundreds rather than the thousands. The Bill would apply to hunting trophies from all annexe A and B species. That is clear and comprehensive, avoiding confusion about what is or is not covered. Current rules on importing hunting trophies similarly apply to all annexe A and B species.

Earl of Caithness Portrait The Earl of Caithness (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I wonder whether my noble friend would give consideration to answering the question I put to him.

Lord Benyon Portrait Lord Benyon (Con)
- View Speech - Hansard - - - Excerpts

We are seeking to implement the manifesto commitment.

Lord Lucas Portrait Lord Lucas (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, I am naturally disappointed in that, but I shall not give up during the course of rest of this Committee trying to find other ways in which we might reach a compromise and a way forward.

I reassure my noble friend Lady Fookes that I view these amendments as alternatives—different ways of dealing with what I regard as a Bill that has gone too far. I do not wish it to die a death by a thousand cuts; I wish it to flourish as an effective and important piece of legislation. I think it needs improving but, given the Minister’s response, I beg leave to withdraw my amendment.

--- Later in debate ---
Earl of Caithness Portrait The Earl of Caithness (Con)
- View Speech - Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, having listened to the debate so far, I think that this amendment is slightly closer to Amendments 14 and 33, which are in my name, so it might be for the benefit of the House if I say my remarks now rather than repeating them at a later stage—if such a thing happens.

The Government have not told us why the present licensing system does not work. I think it is important for us to recall and think about how the present licensing system works. If anybody wants to import a trophy into the UK from a species that is listed in CITES appendix 1 or 2, there is a requirement for an export certificate from the country and an import certificate from the UK. The issuance of these certificates is based on a science-based assessment that there will be no harm to the species—that is worth stressing. In CITES terms, this is called a non-detriment finding, or NDF.

In the UK, implementation of CITES happens domestically via the principal wildlife trade regulations referred to in the Bill. The two annexes of the wildlife trade regulations that are referred to, annexes A and B, are broadly aligned with the CITES appendices. In the UK, the JNCC, as I have said before, is the relevant public body for overseeing imports of animal species, including hunting trophies. For any species listed on annexe A, JNCC is required to determine, first, that the import will not have a harmful effect on the conservation status of the species or on the extent of the territory occupied by the relevant population of the species—this is the NDF—and, secondly, that the import is taking place for one of the purposes referred to in CITES Article 8(3): that is, for research, for education, for breeding aimed at the conservation of the species, or for other purposes that are not detrimental to the survival of the species concerned.

The JNCC has interpreted other purposes that are not detrimental as including hunting trophies—as long as trophy hunting is part of a careful species management plan that should, as appropriate, be based on sound biological data collected from the target populations; clearly demonstrate that harvest levels are sustainable; be monitored by professional biologists; be promptly modified if necessary to maintain the conservation aims; demonstrate that illegal activities are under control; produce significant and tangible conservation benefits for the species; and provide benefits to, and be in co-operation with, the local people who share the area with, or suffer by, the species concerned.

For species on annexe B, the measures are less strict since, by definition, the species on this annexe are less threatened by trade, and no certificate is required other than for six exceptions: the African lion, African elephant, argali sheep, hippopotamus, polar bear and white rhinoceros. For these species, the UK has the equivalent stricter measures that it applies to annexe A species, meaning that import permits are required—including an NDF. Thus, if a hunting trophy has been issued with an import certificate by JNCC, we can be confident that this is because due process has been followed: a non-detriment finding assessment has been conducted and the assessment has indicated there is no risk to species survival.

This Bill is about conservation and preventing the further endangerment of threatened species. The system in place under CITES already performs this function through a process that has been agreed multilaterally by over 180 countries. The Bill does not need to concern itself with those species that are not under annexes A or B. I have an amendment coming up to delete annexe B. However, the amendment before us is a better one and I would be very happy to support it should it be taken to a Division. However, if it is not, I give notice to my noble friend the Minister that I will wish to divide on my amendment in due course.

Lord Benyon Portrait Lord Benyon (Con)
- View Speech - Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, as I said earlier, I spoke at some length on the first amendment and covered many of these points. However, to address this precise amendment, it would narrow the scope of the ban to species considered threatened on the IUCN red list. Where this assessment identifies trophy hunting as a threat, it would remove the power for the UK Government to determine species in scope, which the Bill currently does through annexes A and B of the wildlife trade regulations. This amendment contradicts Clause 2, which clearly sets out the species in scope of the import ban and would remove the power for the UK Government to determine species in scope. With that in consideration, I respectfully ask my noble friend to withdraw his amendment.

Lord Robathan Portrait Lord Robathan (Con)
- View Speech - Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, I note that almost all the speeches have been in favour of this amendment. That is because it is about conservation. I am a conservationist—I think everyone who has spoken is a conservationist—but this Bill, which my amendment aims to improve, is not about conservation. I find that very distressing—I really do.

The two noble Baronesses on the Front Bench said that they had letters from people supporting a trophy Bill when they were in the Commons. They may have done, but I remember a rather dreadful organisation called 38 Degrees, which ran campaigns the whole time. I discovered that some of my constituents who wrote to me and emailed me on standard responses that were given by 38 Degrees had not even sent them themselves; they were sent for them. We all know how campaigns can work.

I am disappointed that the proposer of the Bill and the Minister do not think that we need to highlight conservation in this Bill. I was not going to divide the House because it is time for my bed; I am getting rather old.

--- Later in debate ---
21:58

Division 5

Ayes: 25

Noes: 32

House resumed.