Pretoria, 21 April 2016 – The Professional Hunters’ Association of South Africa (PHASA) has noted with relief that a move by a group of European Parliament members to pass a Written Declaration that would restrict the import of all hunting trophies to the European Union failed to achieve the requisite number of votes to be considered at the Parliament’s next sitting.
On the deadline date, 18 April 2016, only 135 of the required 376 votes had been received by the European Parliament, PHASA learned from the European Union Parliament’s official Webpage, http://www.europarl.europa.eu/plenary/en/written-declarations.html#sidesForm.
PHASA chief executive Tharia Unwin applauded the development, saying that reason and common sense had prevailed over emotions and populist sentiment. “Sweeping changes to hunting practices in Africa can have a detrimental impact on conservation models and marginalised poverty-stricken communities that depend on hunting for their livelihoods,” she says.
Unwin says PHASA will always support measures by trophy import countries to ensure that hunting is better regulated and that its proceeds go to the beneficiaries for which it is intended, including conservation, research and rural development. “What we are seeing, however, is a deliberate attempt to conflate legal and responsible hunting with illegal wildlife trafficking, the practice of which is carried out in an indiscriminate, cruel and unsustainable manner,” she says.
PHASA paid tribute to the governments of affected African nations, including South Africa’s Department of Environmental Affairs, the International Council for Game and Wildlife Conservation (CIC), the International Professional Hunters Association (IPHA), the Namibian Professional Hunters Association (NAPHA), Dallas Safari Club, Safari Club International and Conservation Force for successfully lobbying European Parliament members.
“A special word of appreciation is also due to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the world’s highest authority on conservation matters, for their continued support of sustainable hunting in the face of growing anti-hunting sentiment,” she said.
The IUCN produced a briefing paper for European Union decision-makers on the consequences of a restriction of hunting trophy imports. The briefing paper can be downloaded from: http://cmsdata.iucn.org/downloads/iucn_informingdecisionsontrophyhuntingv1.pdf.