- in Environment
A government consultation on banning the importing and exporting of hunting trophies has been extended by one month in order to get more responses.
The consultation, launched in November, was due to close on Saturday but the deadline has now been pushed back by one month.
The government says this is for those who could not contribute as a result of the pre-election and Christmas periods.
Minister Lord Goldsmith has said he is “repulsed” by trophy hunting.
However, some conservationists argue money made from trophy hunting goes towards protecting endangered animals – an income source that could be lost if it was banned.
There are also fears that ending the practice would mean areas of habitat end up being converted for other uses.
And in May then-Environment Secretary Michael Gove sounded a note of caution.
“If particular communities have got used to deriving income from hunting, you don’t want to seem as though you’re basically saying, we’re taking your livelihood away,” he told the BBC Radio 5 Live podcast Beast of Man.
“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.”
Speaking at an event in Westminster on Tuesday, Environment Minister Lord Goldsmith acknowledged there were people who believe trophy hunting was an important source of funding for conservation.
However, he added, the argument was “predicated mostly on the idea of best practice, that all trophy hunting is highly and well-regulated, and that the money makes it to local communities and conservation”.
“If that was true then we would genuinely have to weigh up the arguments, the moral argument against the apparent conservation benefits.
“The purpose of this consultation is to unpick those arguments.
“How can it be good for an endangered species when the healthiest and most magnificent among them are the first to be shot?” he asked.
Also attending the event, Labour’s shadow environment secretary Luke Pollard said: “I think banning trophy hunting would send a very strong signal to the world that this is not an acceptable practise in the 21st century.”
The consultation is specifically seeking views on options for importing and exporting hunting trophies to the UK.
The options include introducing a ban for certain species, stricter requirements for moving certain species, banning hunting trophies altogether, or do nothing.