What on Earth is Wrong with “Trophy Hunting”?
1 July 2021

Open-minds needed amidst growing polarisation

Yesterday’s online event ‘Trophy hunting: Conservation Tool, or a Threat to Wildlife?’ hosted by Manuela Ripa (Member of European Parliament, Greens/EFA from Germany) and watched by some hundreds of viewers, was a stark reminder of the detrimental power of misinformation and emotionally charged discourse.

As part of the effort to combat the misinformation surrounding “trophy hunting,” the CIC is proud to announce the release of the Debunking the Myths brochure!

We have taken all of the facts on international hunting that were published in our original Debunking the Myths series, and have collected them into one, easy to digest brochure.

Please click here to download a copy – we would encourage you to use and distribute it as you see fit.

The online event was a perfect demonstration of why such a brochure is necessary in today’s world.

Theoretically, as presented in the background information provided prior to the event, the webinar sought to:

“… examine whether trophy hunting is placing unsustainable pressure on endangered species and question whether this practice really does make a significant contribution to wildlife conservation – or provides a significant source of income to local people – as claimed by its exponents.

In reality, rather than looking to examine and question the above statements through balanced argumentation, the event looked to convince viewers that international hunting, commonly referred to as “trophy hunting” does not generate the proven benefits. This clearly shows the obvious bias against international hunting that was evident in the structure and organisation of the webinar.

In fact, the phrase “trophy hunting” is also misleading, as it suggests that trophies are the primary motivation for hunters – international hunting is a better and more accurate term for the practice.

This was further exacerbated by the lack of diversity and necessary representation amongst the speakers and panellists. There was just one obvious representative (Dr. David Scallan) with a direct interest in sustainable use present amongst the six participants. Miet Van Looy (CITES and EU Wildlife Trade Regulations) also provided a good neutral understanding of the role that CITES plays in ensuring conservation through sustainable use and trade. The remaining participants can best be described as placing animal rights ahead of human livelihoods and conservation.

The programme included presentations by:

  • Audrey Delsink, Wildlife Director, Humane Society International (HSI)/Africa
  • Paula Kahumbu, Wildlife Conservationist and CEO, WildlifeDirect

What followed was a panel discussion with the Presenters and the following three panellists:

  • Lenin Tinashe Chisaira, Environment Lawyer and Director, Advocates4Earth
  • David Scallan, Secretary General, European Federation for Hunting and Conservation (FACE)
  • Miet Van Looy, International Relations Officer, CITES and EU Wildlife Trade Regulations, DG Environment, European Commission

Each of the above individuals are, no doubt, experts in their own fields. However, few could argue that this represents a balanced and suitably qualified panel to discuss the issues at stake.

The panel was also moderated by Dr. Joanna Swabe from HSI/Europe, who certainly cannot be considered as “neutral” given that her organisation continues to speak out and campaign against international hunting.

Adding to the unbalanced nature of this event was a lack of representation from local communities that benefit from international hunting, scientists studying the impacts of regulated hunting on species and habitat conservation, and many other individuals that have first-hand experience of international hunting.

Fortunately, Dr. David Scallan and Miet Van Looy were able to bring the facts and wildlife science to an otherwise emotionally driven conversation.

This brings us to an exciting announcement:

Release of the CIC’s Debunking the Myths brochure on international hunting!

The brochure aims to “put things right.” It is a compact and simplified version of the original series that was released on our website last year, and contains the key facts on international hunting and the various benefits that it produces. Most importantly, all of the facts are backed up by reliable, verified sources.

Click here to download your own copy. We welcome you to use, and widely distribute, this resource whenever you need the facts.

The CIC will be distributing the brochure within its membership, wildlife conservation organisations, politicians and the media.

Lastly, we would like to thank the MEPs for Wildlife EU intergroup for organising this event. We hope that this is the start of a more a balanced, unbiased and factual series of discussions on this topic.

A good first step could be to release the questions posed during the event in their entirety, noting that these were hidden from attendees after the first couple of questions. The CIC received feedback from onlookers that they posed multiple questions, none of which were visible to onlookers. It would be in the interests of all viewers if the complete list of questions could be release to the public.

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