BY JOHN NASH
I love this land, so it has taken a couple of days to calm down enough to write this piece. To the utter shame of our Parliament, some of our MPs met on the 25th of January to “discuss” a Private Members Bill to prohibit the importation of hunting trophies into the UK and move it on to the next stage. Even by Machiavellian standards, it would be hard to find a more duplicitous bunch of liars in a government building anywhere in the world.
The Bill claims that it will help to conserve the world’s wildlife – the assembled MPs voted in approval without any dissent.
The real story is different. This Bill is going through Parliament without the slightest scientific or field evidence in support – in fact, the truth is being actively suppressed.
Scientifically, this Bill is dodgier than a Kolkata boiler house scam – it seeks to prevent the importation of “all endangered species”, so it includes, among other things, banning the importation of hunting trophies of newts, mosses, molluscs and jellyfish. Now I don’t know about you, but I haven’t seen many newts mounted on hunters’ walls and I suggest that stalking and shooting a clump of wild moss is not exactly one of life’s more stimulating pastimes. Shooting a jellyfish is very likely to spread it far and wide and nailing one to a wall will be a bit of a challenge. Yet this is the abysmal lack of scientific rigour and realism in this ridiculous, devious kabuki theatre of virtue-signalling nonsense.
Before this theatrical “debate” occurred, the MPs were offered a rather disturbing video for guidance, pointing out that, factually speaking, most of the statements made by them in their previous debate on this matter were, to put it rather delicately, about 80% lies. The truth, based on proper, irrefutable scientific evidence and data to show their errors, was included in the video, made by two extremely distinguished, non-trophy hunting scientists in the field of wildlife conservation and trade:
The first is Dr Dilys Roe, Principal Researcher/Team Leader (Biodiversity) at IIED and Chair, IUCN Sustainable Use and Livelihoods Specialist Group, member of the UK Government’s own Darwin Expert Committee (DEC) and Illegal Wildlife Trade Advisory Group; the Science for Nature and People Partnership (SNAPP) Science Advisory Council. She is also a Fellow of the UN Environment World Conservation Monitoring Centre.
The other scientist is Professor Amy Dickman, Professor of Wildlife Conservation and Director of WildCRU at the University of Oxford, Kaplan Senior Research Fellow at Pembroke College, Oxford and joint CEO of Lion Landscapes. She is best known for her leadership of the Ruaha Carnivore Project, seeking to improve conservation outcomes for lions and other carnivores in the Ruaha National Park of Tanzania. WildCru are the team who collared the famous Cecil and his lion mates. She is well known for saying publicly that although she doesn’t like trophy hunting at all, being a scientist, she accepts that it has its uses (and is therefore, presumably, not prepared to lie about it).
It would be hard to imagine two better equipped UK scientists in this field, and since they are eminently qualified to offer the objective truth and facts, you would expect our UK MP’s, meeting inside Parliament, to at least take their constructive advice seriously.
Did they hell.
One of them, Peter Dowd MP (arrowed above), has a tremendous knowledge of African wildlife management which derives from his employment as a social worker among the rolling savannahs and thundering herds of wildebeests of Merseyside. This gormless ignoramus wouldn’t know an eland from an elephant; social services can’t apparently even protect young UK girls let alone protect foreign wildlife, yet he actually stood up in the “debate” and suggested, in an outrageous text-book example of gaslighting and political truth-folding origami, that the two scientists’ video was “misinformation”. I kid you not….(my emphasis)….
When I subsequently emailed Dowd to say he should be ashamed, instead of explaining himself, he told me he was going to feed his cat. I asked him to send my sympathies to his cat – with his grip on reality and expert knowledge of animals, he probably feeds it dog food.
Please allow me to introduce the IUCN, The International Union for the Conservation of Nature, if you are unaware. The IUCN is the world’s largest and most diverse environmental network, harnessing the knowledge, resources and reach of more than 1,400 Member organisations and 15,000 experts. This diversity and expertise makes IUCN the global authority on the status of the natural world and the measures needed to safeguard it. Dr Roe, one of the two scientists above, is their Chair of Sustainable Use and may therefore know a thing or two about the world’s wildlife. Not according to the vacuous Dowd – he is even too utterly stupid to realise that the IUCN produces the Red Lists of endangered animals that he and his fellow ignoramuses wave about so piously.
Speaking of ignorance, it may also mystify you that UK surveys show about 90% in favour of a ban. That figure isn’t surprising when you hear the tripe these band-wagoners spout. Sir Greg Knight MP, for example, said with a straight face, “What shocked me most….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”. No, it wasn’t, you flatulent eco-buffoon and writer of books of insults. 30-50% of wild tiger cubs die in infancy. Someone decided to make a “cute” taxidermy out of one of them, that’s all. Watch my lips – It had absolutely nothing to do with hunting, let alone trophy hunting.
When told that foreign hunters come to the UK and shoot “stags” for trophies, Smith said he wasn’t aware of it. This “expert” didn’t know we shoot 900,000 deer a year in the UK and according to Fieldsports TV, visitors take home 20,000 trophies! He should get out of Crawley a bit more often.
Then Smithy warned that there “are only 6,000 black rhinos left today”, apparently unaware that there were only 2410 in 1995 – they are increasing, thanks to private owners and trophy hunting income. How about his claim that “elephant tusks are becoming smaller, so that the poor creatures can’t dig for water in droughts”? I suggest he looks at the live cams streaming from Tembe in South Africa. Not only will he see elephants with big tusks, but he can watch them digging for water – with their feet and trunks. They use their tusks to get the bark off trees and the bulls use their tusks to kill each other – if their tusks were getting smaller, it would save more elephants and trees!
The truth is out there somewhere, and, as the scientists’ video explains, asking people if they “want to ban trophy hunting” is far too simplistic. Of course they do. We all love animals.
And would you like to see how you will hurt Africans, Smithy? Instead of spouting your groundless, ridiculous claim that “trophy hunters are robbing (African) people of their—and our—natural heritage”, why not watch this other video from Namibia and hear the truth about trophy hunting from actual rural Africans’ lips. You might learn something.
Please make sure, Dear Readers, you at least look at it, like it and spread it as widely as possible. Everyone who works in the Field Industries, Hunting or Field Sports should watch it. Ask your MP if they have watched it and urge them to do so. It exposes Eduardo Gonçalves’ little barrel of rotten apples and offers the scientific truth, by two proper experts, that you can rely on and quote with confidence.
If you want to read all the lies of this nest of rats in Hansard, they are here. Read it and weep. Then note the names on the list. These are the liars who treat our Parliament like a pub urinal. They will tell you that UK hunting and trophy exports from the UK are exempt from this Bill. They want you to think that you have dodged their bullet, but if you believe that, you must believe in fairies.
Do not let this outrageous bill become law. Instead help expose Gonçalves and despatch him for a sabbatical using what has become a winning and effective way.
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.