BY JOHN NASH
On 12th March, the Mirror online ran the “exclusive” and tragic news that “Boris Johnson has ditched the Animals Abroad Bill” – you know, that one that would have banned the importation of hunting trophies and saved more wild animals than Noah. Apart from the fact that Boris hasn’t personally ditched the cretinous proposal, the article was the usual Mirror fake-news eco-hate-speech, this time from the pen of Nigel Nelson, the rag’s political editor (not a wildlife or conservation editor, please note). Unlike his illustrious naval namesake, this old city duffer turned a blind eye to reality in his “exclusive” and in doing so apparently broke a whole swathe of the IPSO Editors’ Code of Practice in letter or spirit about fairness, truth and balance. No wonder the Mirror’s strap-line is, roughly, “The fart of Britain”.
Like many fine-sounding, over-trumpeted proposals before it, the Animals Abroad Bill actually ran into difficulty as soon as evidence was called for. Reality revealed the fact that the bill was all (anti-) fur coat and no knickers. Another bill built on the sand of social currency. Instead of saving thousands of Africa’s wild animals and conserving their habitat, so loudly claimed by George Eustice, MP, Secretary of State at DEFRA, the bill was in fact much more likely to destroy both, and hurt or kill lots of poor rural Africans through impoverishment as well. Sold to UK voters as “animal welfare”, it was, in fact, a breathtaking display of neo-colonialist, ecowoke racist arrogance.
This is not an exaggeration – Here are the concerns of Chieftainess Rebecca Banika, who represents Botswana’s elephant-over-populated Chobe District at the House of Chiefs, advisers to the Botswana Parliament:
Now you know why this ignorant bill deserved stillbirth – it would kill poor rural black people in Africa and destroy conservation work there.
George Eustice, appearing to support the bill like one of those ISIS captives, might perhaps be under duress from his boss Boris, who in turn might be having his pickles squeezed by his boss Carrie, all the while being ear-wormed by his place-man Lord Zac. The Manky Mirror’s moronic myope, Nigel Nelson, however, has no such excuse. He is required by IPSO to tell the truth. In theory. IPSO, sadly, has less bite than an edentulous and geriatric jellyfish. Still, hope battles on…
As a CSM regular, Dear Reader, you are evidently founded on common sense and no doubt already understand that editors may, on occasion, bravely test the IPSO rules in a matter of public interest in order to expose “impropriety, unethical conduct or incompetence”. It is therefore both audacious and ironic that the disgraceful Mirror article was filled with unfounded hate speech (“sick trophies”, gruesome souvenirs”, “animals… being murdered by sadistic psychopathic Brits”, “vile trade” etc) as it publicised the chief stoker and shameless promoter of the illegitimate Animals Abroad Bill.
I refer, of course, to the deceptive Campaign to Ban Trophy Hunting, a less than transparent private company run by the oily shyster, Eduardo Goncalves. The Mirror is an Eduardo vuvuzela and clearly a willing accomplice in hoodwinking the UK public. While Lord Horatio Nelson lost the sight in his right eye during the siege of Calvi, editor Nigel Nelson lost his marbles during a siege by Goncalves.
Despite ample evidence to the contrary, the Mirror article blithely trundled out the same old Goncalves flatulence that DEFRA tried to fob off on the public with its display of Carrie-oky when announcing the Animals Abroad Bill. “The new law would have covered 7,000 threatened animals including reindeer, polar bears, and zebras along with the frequently killed “big five – lions, leopards, rhinos, elephants and buffalos”, it claimed. How admirable!
However, I invite you to look at reality in Hansard – when Luke Pollard MP asked, in 2021, about the number of UK imports of animal trophies, he was answered by Rebecca Pow MP and given the official number of some of the trophies from those “7000 threatened species and the frequently killed big five” imported under CITES. Would you like to know the official number for the year 2020, Dear Reader? Here they are:
- Lion – 5 trophies !
- Tiger – 0 trophies !
- Elephant – 4 trophies !
- Cheetah – 0 trophies !
- Polar bear – 0 trophies !
Thousands??? Frequently killed???? Cobblers – especially when you know that there are probably 100,000 too many elephants in Southern Africa. And even though the number of lions across Africa as a whole is falling because they are running out of land in the face of a burgeoning human population expansion, South African farmers have raised 12,000 of them and so they won’t become extinct while there is a demand for them. Accordingly, far from being endangered, there is no shortage of animals for hunters, and so the question is: Is it worth ignoring the pleas and impoverishing thousands of rural Africans for no real reason whatsoever (apart from perfidiously skimming donations, votes and readers from the UK public)? Thankfully, it appears as though the adults in Parliament have brought the dishonest children under control.
The dishonesty stems from clever animal rights advertising. In reality, regulated trophy hunting is an integral part of hunting, itself part of sustainable wildlife management and conservation in Southern Africa. It boils down to an insignificant difference – do you (a) shoot a trophy and then eat the animal, or (b) eat the animal and keep a trophy? In Africa, they see little difference, and in South Africa the low-carbon, low water hunting industry brings in over £100 million per year, a precious resource that feeds rural people, provides jobs, and increases the number of animals and area of conserved habitat all at the same time.
Of course, if you want to read proper, grown-up, factual stuff about lions and other game animals by qualified people who do not approve of trophy hunting, may I direct you to the absolutely fascinating report by Lion Landscapes (awe-inspiring reading if you are interested in real conservation or you are concerned by the criminal level of deception perpetrated by UK eco-chuggers and the gutter press). Please get your MP to read it and weep for the damage they might have done with their deceitful Bill.
Deceit. That’s what comes when you let a nimblequick tin-shaker (who collects the public’s money but doesn’t save a single animal) like wily Goncalves write government and newspaper cut-and-paste press releases. But don’t take my word for it. When approached for an African perspective on the Mirror’s “Boris Johnson ditching the Animals Abroad Bill”, Emmanuel Koro, an African, a Johannesburg-based international award-winning environmental journalist, who writes extensively on environment and development issues in Africa, said:
Koro concludes, “Many Africans had been disappointed at the Western superpowers’ continued anti-international wildlife trade dictatorship in Africa, since the establishment of the UN Convention on International Trade In Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora since it was founded in 1975. Therefore, what the British leaders’ decision to discontinue the plans to introduce the Trophy Hunting Imports Ban Bill is a big breath of fresh air that hopefully will attract greater pro-sustainable use support in 21st Century wildlife trade politics, politics that seem to disregard the humanitarian needs of African hunting communities who can’t wriggle out of poverty as long as restrictions on international hunting continue. Thank you, British decision-makers, for setting the much-needed trend of listening to African people and not the animal rights groups’ fundraising industry that for a long time has continued to feed you with the lie that when you ban hunting you save wildlife. Trade, not trade-bans, will save African wildlife. The truth is that the ban on international hunting makes African people not see any value in wildlife. When that happens, they would rather kill all the wildlife and convert national parks and wilderness areas into agricultural production. Alternatively, they can use national parks and wilderness areas for mining minerals, including oil and coal.”
Meanwhile, back in Blighty, when the Animals Abroad Bill Noah’s Ark did its fair impression of the Titanic, in the Mirror, wily Goncalves said, “If this turns out to be true it would be a shocking misleading of the Commons”.
Misleading? Quite a remark from the UK’s mendacious maestro of misleading, with more neck than a diplodocus. He should try looking in a mirror – a proper one, not the red top gutter variety.
John Nash grew up in West Cornwall and was a £10 pom to Johannesburg in the early 1960’s. He started well in construction project management, mainly high rise buildings but it wasn’t really Africa, so he went bush, prospecting and trading around the murkier bits of the bottom half of the continent. Now retired back in Cornwall among all the other evil old pirates. His interests are still sustainable resources, wildlife management and the utilitarian needs of rural Africa.