We have a cheer today for Australia, which announced a ban last week on the import and export of “hunting trophies,” made from the body parts of lions, in an attempt to help curb the organized hunting of Africa’s wildlife.
The trophies are often derived from an artificial type of slaughter, mostly taking place in South Africa, called “canned” hunting. Captive-bred lions are put into enclosures where tourists pay thousands of dollars for the dubious privilege of shooting them with guns or crossbows.
The announcement of the ban was made during the Global March for Lions at Federation Square, which was held by animal activists all over the world and followed a campaign to end the importation of lion trophies by La Trobe Federal Liberal MP, Jason Wood.
Wood called the ban historic and said he hoped the rest of the world follow: “Australia has taken the first step, now let’s hope the rest of the world follows suit and says no to canned hunting,” he told The Herald Sun.
From 2010-2013, Australian hunters imported the bodies or body parts, such as skulls and claws, of 91 lions.
Under Australian law, the maximum penalty for wildlife trade offenses is 10 years imprisonment and a fine of up to $170,000 for individuals and up to $850,000 for corporations.
Friends of Animals has long been on the forefront of putting an end to canned hunting ranches here in the United States and succeeded in gaining the protection of several African antelope species held captive on U.S. hunting ranches. It is our hope that this important step taken by Australia last week paves the way for other countries, like the United States, to completely eliminate canned hunting and the import/export of animal “hunting trophies” and that animals threatened by the illegal wildlife trade are given full protection under the Endangered Species Act and are able to become free from human exploitation.